The U.S. is predicted to fall 18 million short of its 20 million-dose goal to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, Gen. Gus Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said Wednesday.
Gen. Perna attributed the shortfall to a variety of factors, including inclement weather, the holiday season and inefficient planning by states.
Roughly 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are ready for distribution, with 14 million doses having been already delivered to states across the country.
But just 2.1 million Americans have received the injection, Gen. Perna said.
“We agree that that number is lower than what we hoped for,” said Moncef Slaoui, the chief science adviser for Operation Warp Speed, during a virtual conference on the operation’s progress.
“We know it should be better,” he added.
In the coming weeks, Gen. Perna said that the distribution of the vaccine should increase “exponentially” as states have sorted out issues in their delivery and distribution systems.
Despite the delay, Gen. Perna applauded the ongoing efforts and said that “everyone should be proud” of the vaccine’s development and distribution.
“We’ve cut through the red tape to make sure all the vaccines provided to Americans will be free of charge,” he said. “Every day, I believe the uptake will increase significantly as we go forward.”