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Trump’s imaginary vaccine reserve

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I am beginning to think that the federal response to COVID has been less than competent:

When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available beginning at the end of December, taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line.

Now, health officials across the country who had anticipated their extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality that their allocations will remain largely flat, dashing hopes of dramatically expanding access for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions. Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others are still in the dark.

Because both of the vaccines authorizedfor emergency use in the United States are two-dose regimens, the Trump administration’s initial policy was to hold back second doses to protect against the possibility of manufacturing disruptions. But that approach shifted in recent weeks, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Remember about a year ago when “the Trump administration actually wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating” was a very common Savvy take. I would like to think that “presidential elections are high-stakes events and it is actually very bad to have a total incompetent in the White House” isn’t a lesson we have to re-learn yet again in another four or eight years.

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