Faced with a slow, chaotic vaccine rollout and ever-rising Covid-19 cases, President-elect Joe Biden has an ambitious plan: to administer 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine in his first 100 days in office. Since the vaccines became publicly available in mid-December, 12.3 million shots have made their way into the arms of Americans, an average of 384,000 doses per day. Mr. Biden’s goal of tripling this rate can be achieved if the United States implements a vaccination campaign that treats Covid-19 more like an act of bioterrorism and less like the seasonal flu.
While the United States does not currently have enough vaccine to inoculate all 331 million Americans, supply is far from the only obstacle to ending the pandemic. Only 39 percent of the 31.2 million doses distributed to states so far have been administered. The challenge has been managing the complex logistics of mass vaccination in tandem with addressing the concerns of people who are reluctant to be vaccinated.
Fortunately, we don’t have to develop a strategy from scratch. The federal government has already thought through what it would take to vaccinate large numbers of Americans in a short period of time.
Building on the strategies developed for smallpox vaccination. We estimate that vaccinating an average of one million people daily for 100 days would require at least 400 vaccination sites across the country. Staffed by somewhere between 100,000 and 184,000 people. About 17,000 of those workers would need to be qualified to administer vaccines. Our model assumes that each clinic would operate 12 hours per day and have 10 vaccination stations (like checkout lines in a grocery store) that all together could vaccinate 200 people per hour. This plan would require between 120 and 220 workers at each clinic per shift and could immunize 2,400 people per clinic per day.