Senior officials with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense will hold a briefing on Operation Warp Speed and the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.
The briefing is slated to begin at 11 a.m. and it will be livestreamed in this article. Delays are possible; if there is not a livestream available, check back at a later time.
With frustration rising over the slow rollout of the vaccine, state leaders and other politicians around the U.S. are turning up the pressure, improvising and seeking to bend the rules to get shots in arms more quickly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday said just 4.8 million people in the U.S. have received their first shot out of 17 million doses distributed. While that is believed to an undercount because of a lag in reporting, it is well behind where health officials wanted to be.
Despite the hope that the vaccine would curb the surge of the coronavirus, new cases and hospitalizations are surging at an alarming rate across the country.
A new record number of deaths due to COVID-19 — 3,775 — was set on Tuesday, resulting in the U.S. death toll to climb past 357,000.
The death toll in Texas now stands at 28,219 after 250 new deaths were reported on Tuesday.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has reported 13,300 patients in hospitals due to the virus, which is a new record.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 vaccines are prioritized for health care workers and nursing home residents for the most part in the U.S. Some places are beginning to move on to the next stage, involving the elderly.
The slow rollout has been blamed on a multitude of problems, including a lack of funding and guidance from Washington, mismatches between supply and demand, a patchwork of approaches by state and local governments, distrust of the vaccine, and disarray created by the holidays.
Lara Anton, a press officer with the state’s health department, told KSAT that providers have been told they could inoculate healthcare workers, known as Phase 1A, and people with underlying medical conditions, or Phase 1B, if the vaccine is available.