‘We have not been delivered what was promised,’ L.A. mayor says amid slower-than-expected COVID-19 vaccine rollout

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L.A. Fire Department Capt. Elliot Ibanez, left, is given a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination from LAFD paramedic Anthony Kong on Monday at Station 4 in Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Times)

L.A. Fire Department Capt. Elliot Ibanez, left, is given a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination from LAFD paramedic Anthony Kong on Monday at Station 4 in Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Times)

With a slower-than-expected start to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Sunday said state and local governments didn’t get crucial resources from the federal level to proceed with vaccinations more efficiently.

“We have not been delivered what was promised at the national level,” Garcetti said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We are at a pace right now to deliver vaccines in Los Angeles in over five years instead of over half a year at this pace,” he added.

“The federal government can’t tell the local governments and state governments to do something and not give us aid,” the mayor said.

Garcetti has previously publicly pressed for accelerating distribution of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

The 20 million-dose goal hasn’t been reached in part because local health departments and medical facilities had to stay focused on testing to handle a surge in cases, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said. And the holiday season meant health workers were taking time off, he said.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief science adviser to Operation Warp Speed, the government’s vaccine development and distribution effort, told CBS that 17.5 million doses have been shipped.

About 13 million of those have been distributed to clinics, hospitals and other places where they will be administered, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert.

Fauci said he has seen “some little glimmer of hope” after 1.5 million doses were administered in the previous 72 hours, or an average of about 500,000 per day, a marked increase in vaccinations. He said that brings the total to about 4 million.

But he acknowledged the U.S. fell short of its goal of having 20 million doses shipped and distributed by the end of December.

“There have been a couple of glitches. That’s understandable,” Fauci said. “We are not where we want to be, there’s no doubt about that.”

Fauci expressed optimism that the momentum will pick up by mid-January and that ultimately the U.S. will be vaccinating 1 million people a day.

Biden’s “goal of vaccinating 100 million people in the first 100 days is a realistic goal,” Fauci said.

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