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For COVID-19 vaccines, “no one seems to think that we have a plan”

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A health worker carries syringes to administer Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines at the opening of a new vaccination site at Corsi Houses in Harlem, New York, on Jan. 15, 2021.

A health worker carries syringes to administer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines at the opening of a new vaccination site at Corsi Houses in Harlem, New York, on Jan. 15. Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

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President-elect Joe Biden has set a big goal: 100 million COVID-19 vaccines in his first 100 days in office.

The pandemic is worse than it’s ever been, with 4,000 Americans dying every day and a new variant popping up around the country. Efficient distribution of the vaccine is also key to pulling this economy out of the recession.

Biden has a long way to go — as of today, about 31 million vaccines have been distributed, but only 12 million Americans have received the first dose. So, how realistic is that goal?

“It’s in the realm of possibilities,” said Johns Hopkins University health economist Dan Polsky, but there are a lot of unknowns. “I would say that the people who came up with this goal are nervous.”

On today’s show, Polsky, who served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s committee for vaccine distribution, lays out the state of vaccinations so far. He tells us what he saw while serving on the committee and explains what still needs to happen to get the vaccine in 100 million arms. We also asked him about the one dose/two dose issue.

Later in the show, we’ll talk about the “1776 Report” and Twitter without Trump, and we’ll hear some of your response to our recent episodes. Plus, a listener teaches us about the 1954 shooting in the U.S. House of Representatives.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week: Capitol police, presidential inaugurations and “Cyberpunk 2077.” Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Finally: We need your voice memos! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood to answer! Here’s how to do it.

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