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Country needs 'harmonious' approach to COVID-19 vaccinations, infectious disease experts say

Biden wants 100 million vaccines in first 100 days
Pfizer Vaccine
Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 21:34:13-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — President Joe Biden wants to administer 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days. Are states set up to succeed or fail?

According to Dr. William Schaffner, one of the nation's leading infectious disease experts and a physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, states are not on track for that quite yet.

"Just about everything we do regarding COVID has room for improvement," said Dr. William Schaffner. "I think if we start at the federal level, and put public health at the front and politics can step back, I think we're on the right track."

Tennessee receives about 80,000 COVID-19 vaccines a week. So far, the state has vaccinated about 4.5% of its population.

To get more people vaccinated, Dr. Schaffner said clinics will need to be better located, get more supplies and add more hours.

"There are many clinics in our state and across the country that perhaps didn't plan as well as they might have. They thought this was going to be as quick and easy as a flu vaccination campaign," he said.

There wasn't a national strategy to attack COVID-19 under the Trump Administration.

Dr. Schaffner said the materials that states need to test and vaccinate are hard to come by at the moment.

"The vaccine itself, but it has to go into a vial with a label. It has to be sent. And then we need needles and syringes, swabs, band-aids," he said.

The coordination of 100 million vaccinations by the end of April will be difficult, according to Schaffner, but he said with the right tools and messaging, it can happen.

"If we can gradually get all the governors, all the states more or less singing from the same sheet of music, that will help a lot. Because, at the moment, we have such a variety of programs across the country... we need to get on to a national harmony in our approach to COVID," he said.