New CDC Director Says You Won't Get Your Vaccine From Here Anytime Soon
According to her predictions, the U.S. won't be adhering to the planned vaccine timeline.
With a new presidential administration comes new experts handling the country's COVID response. Rochelle Walensky, MD, has taken over as the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under President Joe Biden. Walensky has already jumped into making some big changes, and has walked back some of the promises made by the former administration. If you were hoping you or your family members would be able to walk into your local pharmacies to get a COVID vaccine by the end of February, you might be disappointed. Read on for Walensky's predictions about the continued vaccine rollout, and for more vaccine news, If You Take These OTC Meds, You Have to Stop Before Getting the Vaccine.
The former HHS Secretary predicted the general public could get vaccinated at their local pharmacies as soon as February.
On Dec. 15, then-Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar told The News with Shepard Smith that Americans could expect to be lining up for the COVID vaccine at their local pharmacies as soon as late February.
"I believe by the end of February, the end of March, of course, depending on the decisions by our governors, but I believe we'll have enough supply out there to be reaching out to the general public for administration—at your CVS, Walgreens, Kroegers—by the end of February into March," Azar said. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
But the new CDC director doubts vaccines will be available for everyone at pharmacies in the immediate future.
In a Jan. 21 appearance on Today, Walensky disputed the likelihood of having widespread vaccine distribution in pharmacies in the next couple of months. While she did note that the vaccine will eventually make it to pharmacies, her predicted timeline is a bit different than that of her predecessors.
"Will it be in every pharmacy in this country by that timeline? I don't think so," Walensky said. "I don't think late February we're going to have vaccine in every pharmacy in this country." And for more on vaccine safety, discover The Only 2 People Who Shouldn't Get the COVID Vaccine, FDA Official Says.
She said the Biden administration is determined to get out 100 million doses in the first 100 days.
"We said 100 million doses in the first 100 days, and we're going to stick to that plan," said Walensky, referring to a pledge Biden made before taking office. However, she knows those 100 million doses only cover a fraction of Americans.
"After 100 days, there are still a lot of Americans who need vaccine, so we have our pedal to the metal to make sure that we can get as much vaccine out there," the CDC director added. "We recognize this is the most immediate emergency to get this country back to health." And for more on potential vaccine complications, These Are the Side Effects of the New Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.
One of the key ways to achieve Biden's vaccine rollout goal is expanding the number of vaccinators.
It's not just about where you'll get your vaccine, but also who will give it to you. In order to vaccinate Americans, we need people to actually put shots in arms.
"We need to make sure that there are enough vaccinators out there," Walensky said. She went on to name a few groups of people who may find themselves administering vaccines, including the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service, retirees, medical students, nursing students on the cusp of graduating, dentists, and veterinarians. And for more insight from Walensky, The New CDC Director Just Issued This Very Dark COVID Warning.