Biden’s team is still trying to locate upwards of 20 million vaccine doses that have been sent to states — a mystery that has hampered plans to speed up the national vaccination effort.
|U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus pandemic in the State Dining Room of the White House on January 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. | Doug Mills, Pool/Getty Images|
Joe Biden promised he’d bring in a competent, tested team to run the pandemic response, set ambitious vaccination targets and impose strict public health guidelines.
His team arrived at the White House with a 200-page response plan ready to roll out. But instead, they have spent much of the last week trying to wrap their hands around the mushrooming crisis — a process officials acknowledge has been humbling, and triggered a concerted effort to temper expectations about how quickly they might get the nation back to normal.
After a week on the job, Biden’s team is still trying to locate upwards of 20 million vaccine doses that have been sent to states — a mystery that has hampered plans to speed up the national vaccination effort. They're searching for new ways to boost production of a vaccine stockpile that they've discovered is mostly empty. And they're nervously eyeing a series of new Covid-19 strains that threaten to derail the response.
“It’s the Mike Tyson quote: ‘Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth,’” said one person with knowledge of the vaccine effort who’s not authorized to discuss the work. “They are planning. They are competent. It’s just the weight of everything when you sit down in that chair. It’s heavy.”