Millions of Americans rely on a Covid-19 vaccine to prevent the global pandemic and get their lives back to normal. Although one or more solutions could be available by the end of this year or early next, the road to supplying vaccines to 330 million people remains uncertain for the work required of the local health officials.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a four-page memo this summer, told health departments around the country to draught vaccination schedules by Oct. 1 “to coincide with the earliest possible availability of Covid-19 vaccine.” But health departments that have been underfunded for decades complain they currently lack the resources, funds, and equipment to educate people about the vaccines and then distribute, administer, and monitor hundreds of millions of doses. They don’t even know when or whether they’re going to get federal aid to do that.
The U.S. has spent more than $10 billion to create new coronavirus vaccines but has not explicitly allocated money for vaccine delivery and administration. And although states, territories, and 154 major cities and counties earned billions in Congressional emergency funds, the money can be used for a number of purposes, including testing and overtime pay.