Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Experts urge patience with vaccine strategy, expect rollout to gain steam soon

The United States' coronavirus vaccine rollout failed to meet the goal of inoculating 20 million people against COVID-19 by the end of 2020. Instead, more than four million have reportedly been vaccinated so far. That's sparked significant criticism about the pacing of the strategy while the coronavirus continues to surge across the country.

There have indeed been distribution and administration hiccups at the federal, state, and local levels for a variety of reasons like weather or the holiday season, as well as some unforeseen events, like a pharmacist deliberately removing hundreds of doses from storage, spoiling them in the process. Despite the bumpy road, however, experts are urging patience. Nancy Messionier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believes vaccination numbers are going to pick up steam as soon as next week. Zoë McLaren, a professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, School of Public Policy concurred, likening the plan to the "soft opening" of a restaurant.

Juliette Kayyem, a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, said "the anger and frustration" about the slower-than-expected start is "fair," but she also agrees with Messionier and McLaren and warned against people tinkering with the plans too soon, especially if that means resorting to "wild proposals" to get more people vaccinated. Tim O'Donnell