The chief scientific advisor for Operation Warp Speed admitted Monday that there had been a “lag” in administering the coronavirus vaccines, but defended the federal government’s handling of their distribution.
Moncef Al-Salawi initially said on CNN’s “Al-Youm Al-Jadid” “nothing went wrong” with the vaccination process.
He added, “What we have committed to do is provide 20 million doses of vaccine for the American people to be immunized.”
Moncef Al-Salawi, director of vaccinations at the White House, said, “We agree that there is a delay” in vaccinations. “I wish we had vaccinated 20 million, of course. We have worked day and night to provide these vaccines and will continue to work day and night to immunize them.” pic.twitter.com/8z4lMnPymv
– NewDay January 4, 2021
Then CNN’s Alicin Camerota indicated that Trump administration officials, and El-Sallawi himself, had specifically expected to vaccinate 20 million Americans by this point. Al-Slaoui cited the doses sent to the states, while admitting that it was “less than what we had hoped for.”
“We agree that there is a delay. We will work with the states. We need specific requests for assistance … I wish we had vaccinated 20 million, of course. We have worked day and night to get these” vaccines are available and we will continue working day and night to immunize them, Al-Slaoui said.
When Camerota noted again the previous downing of Salawi, he insisted that Operation Warp Speed was “hoping” to vaccinate many Americans by this point, refusing to describe it to him as “washing” [his] Hand out of it. “
The exchange grew as El-Slawi accused CNN of mocking the idea that the vaccine is ready by the end of 2020. Camerota finally asked him about the federal government’s plan to improve vaccination numbers.
Al-Slawi replied: “Work with the countries.” “We cannot decide where to help them. We have so far made a strategic decision to operate through the states … No state health department has told us that this is the wrong approach.”