President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that the U.S. will acquire 200 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Biden administration set a goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of his presidency, but these vaccines in particular will not be distributed until at least mid-summer.
“Today I’m directing COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to increase our total supply of vaccine for the American people,” Biden said Tuesday. “We expect these additional 200 doses to be delivered this summer. That increases the total of vaccine order in the United States by 50%, from 400 million ordered to 600 million ordered.”
President Biden added that there would be more transparency about how many weekly vaccines each state would receive as they previously “had to guess” the amount of vaccine doses were being distributed to states, an issue that was expressed to the administration in a call with state governors.
“From this week forward… we’ll ensure that states, tribes and territories will now always have a reliable three-week forecast in the supply they’re going to get,” Biden said. “This is going to make sure governors, mayors and local leaders have greater certainty around supply, so they can carry out their plans to vaccinate as many people as possible.”
Within those plans, they will be increasing the weekly distribution of vaccines to states from 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses, depending on the state’s population.
Los Angeles County in particular was receiving about 160,000 doses per week and city mayor Eric Garcetti was critical of the vaccine rollout, saying that it will be a “sad say” when the city will have the resources to administer more vaccines than are available.
“I want our state leaders to hear that, I want our federal leaders to hear that and I want our private sector who is producing this vaccine to hear it. We are ready to do more here,” Garcetti said on January 21. “It’s going to be a sad day when I stand here saying, ‘Dodger Stadium has the capacity to take in 12,000 people, but we only have vaccines for 2,000.”
Garcetti also acknowledged that he believed distribution would increase as more companies produce effective vaccines to join Pfizer and Moderna.