That’s very curious indeed, since the previous “no plan” CDC leadership seemed perfectly capable of conducting inventory tracking. Joe Biden’s pick to run the CDC told Fox News Sunday that they can’t determine how much vaccine they have on hand, and how much has gone to the states. Has Rochelle Walensky checked the CDC website?
“I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have, and if I can’t tell it to you then I can’t tell it to the governors and I can’t tell it to the state health officials,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told “Fox News Sunday.”
“If they don’t know how much vaccine they’re getting not just this week but next week and the week after they can’t plan. They can’t figure out how many sites to roll out, they can’t figure out how many vaccinators that they need, and they can’t figure out how many appointments to make for the public,” Walensky said.
In a dig at the Trump administration, Walensky said the lack of knowledge of vaccine supply is indicative of “the challenges we’ve been left with.”
Not for the first time in the last five days, the Biden administration wants to conduct blame-shifting rather than move forward. This claim is absurd on a number of levels, but mostly because the CDC’s own website is rather precise on the numbers Walensky claims not to know. As of this morning, for instance, the CDC says that they have distributed 41,411,550 doses. They also claim that 18,502,131 people have received their first dose and another 3,216,836 have received their second dose. If the CDC doesn’t have the data, as Walensky claims, where are they getting these figures? That’s especially true for doses distributed, which doesn’t come from the states but their own figures.
National Review’s Jim Geraghty points out that Walensky could find the numbers fairly easily outside the CDC, too:
Right now, just two companies are manufacturing the vaccine. You can’t tell me there isn’t at least one person at Moderna and one person at Pfizer who knows how many doses each company has manufactured, how many doses have gone to the U.S. and how many have gone to other countries, and how many have been administered so far. At minimum, everyone should have ballpark figures for these numbers.
Every company in the world manages its inventory using UPC codes, and radio-frequency identification chips can help track any shipment that gets misplaced or goes off-course. We live in a world where Amazon, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service can tell you exactly where your package is while it’s being shipped. Heck, even drug cartels keep careful track of inventory! And we’re being told the CDC can’t keep track of how many vaccines they’ve got and where they’re going? Was no one counting boxes as the shipments rolled off the production line or were shipped to destinations?
Any pharmaceutical company likely keeps precise accounting of even its most quotidian products. Wanna bet Bayer can track any lot of its aspirin to its end points of sale? They’d need that just to keep track in case anything went wrong in a production lot, at least. That would be all the more true of the Miracle Vaccines, especially given the government sales and all of the procurement rules that apply. There is zero chance that Moderna and Pfizer can’t provide accurate-within-hours numbers for shipments and destinations to the CDC on any kind of notice.
Either Walensky can’t count or has some other competence issue, or she’s lying. If so, it won’t be the first time that the new Biden administration has tried spinning false tales as misdirection. The Washington Post has even begun to notice a pattern:
Even with vaccine shortages and bottlenecks in delivery, the pace needed to meet the new administration’s goal — 1 million doses administered per day — was already achieved Friday and four other days of the previous eight, according to Washington Post data. The accelerating speed of the program undercuts assertions by some Biden advisers that they were left no plan by the Trump administration and suggests they need only to keep their feet on the pedal to clear the bar they set for themselves. …
To ensure success, top Biden aides have presented unflattering portraits of the state of the immunization campaign begun by their predecessors and promised to overhaul the use of the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era law used to compel production of critical items.
But the Trump administration used the law 18 times in relation to vaccine production, according to current and former officials. Biden said this week that he was invoking it, which aides said meant directing agencies to explore prioritizing certain contracts. His plan envisions the possible use of this authority in a number of categories, but does not identify specific manufacturers or a timetable for what they would be able to produce, and at what cost to the rest of the supply chain. …
Experts disagreed about what a reasonable target should be for the first 100 days but said uniformly that Biden should communicate honestly about what his administration can achieve — as well as what his predecessors already put in place.
When the Washington Post suggests that a Democratic administration needs to stop fibbing, then we know that the problem has become impossible to hide. The truth is that the Trump administration had a pretty good plan to get the vaccines distributed, and that the Biden administration can’t abide people knowing it.