News & Politics

Biden Forced to Rethink Strategy After Failure of Mass-Vaccination Sites

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

The Biden administration believed it had come up with the perfect strategy to defeat the coronavirus. They’d spend $4 billion to set up 21 mass-vaccination hubs known as “pilot” community centers in places like New York, Texas, Florida, and California and they sent millions of vaccine doses to these sites. The idea was to mass vaccinate Americans as quickly as possible.

But as it turned out, this strategy was an epic failure. Vaccinations at the pilot centers lagged far behind other sites, including 21 pharmacy chains administering shots in 17,000 stores across the country. FEMA, which is running the mass vaccination sites, refuses to say how much they are costing the taxpayer.


The vaccination hubs, which are run by FEMA and staffed in part by National Guard troops and other Pentagon personnel, have administered just 1.7 million doses since the beginning of February. Over the last two weeks, the sites gave about 67,000 shots a day,according to a series of internal FEMA briefing documents and data sets obtained by POLITICO. That’s roughly 2.5 percent of all doses administered nationwide during the same period, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By comparison, the federal retail pharmacy program reported March 11 it had administered nearly 1 million doses over a single day. Over the course of the next four days, the program’s pharmacies administered more than 5 million more doses, according to the federal vaccination data obtained by POLITICO

“It’s clear that Americans feel comfortable relying on their local pharmacies for the vaccine,” said one senior Biden health official. “The retail pharmacy program will keep growing and I think you will begin to see more people going down the block to CVS to get the shot than driving maybe an hour to the federal sites to get it.”

Is it too much to point out that a 10-year-old could have told the Biden administration what they’re just finding out now?

In a call with the nation’s governors March 16, Jeff Zients, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator, said the retail pharmacy program was quick, efficient and the dominant non-state channel for vaccine distribution, according to two individuals with knowledge of what was said on the call.

Administration officials said they are not at the point where they are planning to shut down any of the federal pilot vaccination sites; four more sites started operations this week. One senior administration official said the additional sites will add to a “complex puzzle of ensuring the maximum number of Americans are able to get their shots on any given day.”

Shutting down the pilot community centers would be the same as admitting they made a several-billion-dollar mistake. Even though the press is basically ignoring this boondoggle, thus helping the Biden administration cover up their failure, the lapdog media would be hard-pressed to keep a lid on the story if they started shuttering mass vaccination sites. So instead of shutting them down, they open four more useless pilot community centers.

The first rule of government spending; why have one when you can get four at quadruple the cost? It’s tempting to point out that this kind of massive waste is inevitable when you start throwing money around by the trillions of dollars.

Except no one would care.