Add a Count of Ineptness
Terry H. Schwadron
Jan. 16, 2021
As if the impeachment document needed a second charge, here came the report in The Washington Post yesterday that even as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would release COVID vaccines held in reserve, no such reserve existed.
That’s right. The Trump administration move to suddenly speed delivery of vaccines was based on a lie: They didn’t have any more in stock. HHS already had been shipping out what was available at the end of December, taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line.
That means that state officials who were counting on doubling the available vaccines health are confronting the fact that there’s no more in the delivery pipeline than what’s still being produced. The states had announced broader inoculation sites based on the promised delivery — adding a healthy dose of confusion to a much larger number of seniors, high-risk patients, first responders and teachers.
So, naturally, Azar blamed the states for not understanding what he had said, for not moving faster and generally for making him look like an idiot, Why did he make an announcement of sending more if he didn’t have it? Then again, Azar offered a letter to resignation to Trump yesterday — without resigning until the inauguration, using a letter that tried to distance himself from Trump without directly saying so.
It also is a setback for Joe Biden, who was busy trying to announce his renewed push campaign for 100 million doses in 100 days. He’s moving ahead towards opening federally underwritten mobile clinics putting federal employees in the field to offer injections, but the reality he faces is there is less vaccine immediately available than he had thought.
Cue the obstinance of Donald Trump in forestalling cooperation with the incoming group.
The amount supposedly held in reserve was for second-dose shots. Concern about rising numbers forced HHS to reconsider, and to announce release of the reserve. The sole saving grace here is that supply of vaccines is ramping up, and with arrival of a more aggressive Biden administration team, will continue to do so.
Nevertheless, in ites closing days, Trump’s HHS lied in a time of pandemic, and rather than calming the pandemic waters, is roiling them.
In the world I live in, that is a near-criminal offense, but certainly an impeachable one. In addition to everything else, Donald Trump should face a choice of being as the outgoing head of a government is inept or unwilling to do its job.