There are 35 million coronavirus vaccines sitting on shelves and ready for distribution, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Monday.
Gottlieb criticized the federal government’s effort to inoculate Americans with the coronavirus vaccine during a Monday interview on CNBC. A senior administration official, however, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Gottlieb’s figures were misleading.
“There’s 35 million vaccines sitting on a shelf right now,” Gottlieb told CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin. “And we know 50 million vaccines are going to become available in the month of January. So we are stockpiling as many as two [million] vaccines a day on top of the 35 million.”
“We are way behind,” Gottlieb said. (RELATED: Fauci Floats Possibility That COVID-19 Vaccine Will Be Mandatory For School And Travel)
— CNBC (@CNBC) January 4, 2021
A senior HHS official said in a statement to The DCNF that while 40 million doses have been allocated by the federal government, not all of the doses have been cleared for distribution to states.
“Twenty million first doses are already ‘in circulation,'” the official told the DCNF. “Fifteen million have been shipped or administered, with another 5 million to ship this week as jurisdictions tell us where to send them.”
The federal government has allocated about 39.8 million doses for distribution as of Dec. 31, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dataset outlining Pfizer and Moderna vaccine distribution.
Factoring in the roughly 4.2 million doses that have been given to Americans as of Saturday, according to a New York Times analysis of state data, it appears that there are about 35.6 million coronavirus doses that have been allocated, but that haven’t been given. But the CDC dataset doesn’t outline how many doses have been readied for shipment.
The senior official stressed that there will always be lags in state data and that the reported number of vaccines administered may rapidly increase over the coming weeks as states update their inoculation figures.
“There will always be more doses allocated than shipped and delivered, more doses delivered than administered, and more doses administered than reported vaccinations,” the official continued. “We’re working to make those lags as small as possible.”
The HHS official added that of the 40 million doses included in the CDC dataset, roughly 20 million are second doses that haven’t been shipped yet. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require individuals to get a first and second dose, according to STAT News.
A media contact for Gottlieb did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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