Fauci Says There’s No ‘Organized Approach’ to Tracking COVID-19 Vaccine


The Biden administration is desperate to ramp up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine. But officials working with the White House’s coronavirus task force are running into a major problem: the data they need to track the delivery of doses is incomplete, often late, and sometimes even contradictory.

Without a reliable accounting system, the administration is essentially flying blind, instead relying on hundreds of local anecdotes about issues with supply and low vaccination rates, according to three officials working with the White House’s COVID-19 task force. That makes it much more difficult to piece together a cohesive picture of a national problem with life-or-death consequences. Some vaccine vials lost in the system could hold as many as six or seven people doses. And there are millions of doses unaccounted for, officials say.

“Right now, what we have is anecdotal stories, stories of people who are online and can’t get it because there’s not enough vaccine, places where you have vaccine in the refrigerator but you don’t have enough people to administer it. We need to get an organized approach to find out exactly what is going on at the local level and try and fix it,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical officer, in an interview with The Daily Beast.

In an interview earlier this week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told Fox News she did not know how many vaccine doses were available for use.

“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,” she said.

Right now, what we have is anecdotal stories, stories of… places where you have vaccine in the refrigerator but you don’t have enough people to administer it. We need to get an organized approach to find out exactly what is going on at the local level and try and fix it.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Fauci noted that Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator under the Trump administration, spent the last several months of her tenure traveling across the country, meeting with local health officials in an attempt to bridge the communication gap between the federal government and states. It didn’t work.

“Deb knocked herself out trying to do that. And you’re one person. You can’t just just be going around, you know, with their roller bag in their hand, trying to fix the problems. She should be totally commended for the effort. But you got to have a much more organized, multi-faceted approach rather than a single person,” Fauci said. “You need to try to figure out … what is going on at the local level. And how can we strengthen the interaction between the federal government and the locals to figure out what the issue is?”

Part of the problem, according to volunteers who have worked for New York City’s distribution hub, is that the state is relying on people with very little or no existing public health background to run massive vaccination centers. Volunteers, some who hail from various city agencies, said they’ve shown up for work only to receive little instruction on how to do their assigned jobs. One individual said they were handed a binder with hundreds of pages on how the team should run the show but that they didn’t have time to read it. Another volunteer said they had to figure out how to design the flow of patients streaming into the center, whether and how to check for identification and how to account for the doses administered, on the fly.

“We were given very few details of what we would be asked to do,” that volunteer said. “And then the next day a new team comes in and it’s like ‘Did you work yesterday? No? Do you know what we’re supposed to do? So everyday people have to reinvent the wheel.”



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