Rutgers doctor says federal government dropped the ball on COVID-19 vaccine rollout
State health officials say that they want to vaccinate 70% of the adult population against COVID-19 within six months, but one of the roadblocks standing in the way of that goal is a slow supply of the vaccine coming into the state.
The blame for the slow operation falls on the federal government, according to Rutgers epidemiologist Dr. Stanley Weiss, who says this is why New Jersey is only receiving 100,000 doses of the vaccine per week.
Anyone who is eligible for the vaccine knows the frustration of trying to get it. It is nearly impossible to get an appointment through the state’s website. And some medical groups and ShopRite have said that they are not taking any more appointments – because they do not have any more vaccines.
“The biggest issue was the total failure of the Trump administration,” says Weiss. “They claimed that they had a certain number of doses to distribute to the states. It was not true.”
Weiss says that the federal government also failed by leaving states on their own when it comes to the logistics of mass vaccination.
“There’s no standard software provided by the federal government. So, every place had needed to develop its own software,” he says.
Weiss says that the federal government needs to give states money to pay workers. Once the vaccine starts to flow, he says, sites should be open 24/7 and sites should be run like an airline - by overbooking.
Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Murphy has called out Walgreens and CVS for not moving fast enough with the vaccine.
On the Walgreens website, there's nowhere for registration, only a message saying, "We're currently delivering vaccinations to long-term care facilities and we'll have vaccines for the public sometime in 2021."
Finally, Weiss says that this must all move faster because there is another threat at large.
“Right now, when we have rampant spread of this virus, the chance for a new variant to come increases,” he says.
Any improvements will now fall on the Biden administration to implement – which will be needed for New Jersey to reach its goal of 70%.