Member of Biden transition team says efforts to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine distribution will work

ATLANTA — During an afternoon news conference Thursday, President Joe Biden was very blunt saying it’s going to take months to get the majority of Americans vaccinated against COVID-19

It’s been a slow process, but Channel 2′s Matt Johnson got some insight about how things could really ramp up now that a new administration is in place.

Jose Cordero is a University of Georgia professor who also served on Biden’s transition team as an expert in vaccine distribution.

“It’s an extremely complex process to get the vaccine to everyone,” Cordero told Johnson.

He says one thing that needed improvement was cooperation between states and the federal government.

“There was not the kind of support that is really needed to get the vaccine from the warehouse to every household,” Cordero said.

Biden’s goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in 100 days came after input from experts like Cordero. He told Johnson that the goal is within reach once the country takes more steps to expand the vaccine rollout.

“Increasing the distribution of vaccines, but second, working with states to expand the number of sites where people can go and get vaccinated,” Cordero said.

Vaccine supply remains the biggest issue for state health officials.

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In District 4, which covers Coweta, Fayette and Henry counties among others, they posted “we no longer have vaccine available for appointments.”

Even some who received their first dose haven’t received word on when or if they will receive their second dose within the recommended time.

“What a brilliant thing they’ve done in a short period of time to produce it. And to have it come so close. And yet so far. It’s just really frustrating,” said Fulton County resident Nancy Bamber.

In a one-on-one interview with Channel 2′s Justin Farmer, Gov. Brian Kemp said he spoke with a member of the Biden administration on Wednesday. He said more federal resources may not be as effective in Georgia without more than the current 140,000 doses per week.

“We’ve explained to them we’re interested in hearing what their plans are but also know we are already planning on doing things like that right now in Georgia. We just got to have more supply to be able to do that,” Kemp said.

Community spread has increased dramatically in Georgia, prompting some experts to recommend vaccinating more people with one dose even if it means delaying the second dose.

“Even if the time span between the first and second doses is more than the recommended, say three to four weeks, the second dose will still increase protection,” said Georgia Tech professor Pinar Keskinocak.

Cordero said he’s optimistic more people will have access to the vaccine once more resources like the CDC are used to distribute.

“I think that CDC has much to contribute to ensure that we can actually control COVID-19,” Cordero said.

Georgia once had one of the nation’s slowest vaccination rates.

As of Thursday, the state said it had used more than half of its vaccine supply so far, about 52%. Just last week it was around 30%.

There are now 9 other states with a worse vaccination rate than Georgia.

Kemp said Thursday that the CDC’s numbers are typically behind the real count.