Despite the hopes that 20 million Americans would receive the COVID-19 vaccines before the end of the year, only 4.8 million Americans have obtained it so far. Once again, the United States is allowing party divisions and differences in ideology get in the way of helping the American people transition into a semblance of normalcy. This delay will only be surmounted once two things happen: first, President-elect Joe Biden must officially hold office and receive the full support of Congress to prevent any additional roadblocks, and second, the federal government must create a task force that streamlines vaccine distribution. Without minimal pushback and a uniform method of distributing vaccinations nationally, it will be nearly impossible to return to the healthier America we desperately yearn to be again.
Operation Warp Speed has been the Trump administration’s most proactive way of managing the spread of the coronavirus, but as has always been the case with the president’s administration, it took some serious missteps that have delayed the distribution of the vaccine and has ensured that the goal of 20 million would not be met, making the work of the Biden administration that much harder. Joe Biden’s creation of a COVID-19 response task force, however, is the first step to ensuring that the country is being led by professionals who will handle this global health crisis with expert hands. But for his task force to fully lead and guide the country out of this pandemic, Biden must have the utmost respect and support of the federal government. As a country, we can no longer let petty partisan arguments continue to stall our return to normalcy; we must demand that our public servants stand behind the president so that he can quickly pass policy that helps floundering businesses, overwhelmed hospitals and struggling individuals.
This may be easier now that Georgia’s election results have finally secured a Democratic majority in the Senate, resulting in a blue federal government for the first time in over a decade. While Americans can look forward to Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, it is doubtful that this win will appease the near constant aggression of the Republican party. It is extremely important, especially after the attacks on the Capitol, that the Republican party set their own woes aside and support President Biden. The country will be able to move forward without their support, but it will only delay what can be an efficient, harmonious process and turn it into a contentious situation. Now more than ever, partisanship must be put aside, at least temporarily, while the country heals.
This united government will allow for a smooth vaccine distribution that state governments are not equipped to handle. The catastrophe that has been ongoing in New York needs to be avoided; the federal government needs to prevent state governments from imposing impossible rules on health care institutions that will ultimately increase the inaccessibility of the vaccine and the inefficiency surrounding its distribution. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s threats to fine hospitals and health care providers will do nothing but damage the same institutions that have been at the forefront of this pandemic. This will do nothing but damage the institutions that will continue to do the grunt work of caring for the sick. Additionally, forcing health care providers to only administer vaccines to “eligible” individuals — many of whom are declining the vaccine — is a precedent we need to avoid at all costs. For instance, in Riverside County, hospitals are reporting that only 50% of their workers are accepting the vaccine. With this knowledge, there must be a process to administer the rejected vaccines to community members who are eager to receive them. This will ensure that vaccines are not going to waste, and immunity overall would increase, leading the country to safety person by person.
Joe Biden needs to be up to the challenge of cleaning up the havoc that the Trump administration has wrought on the country. He will be unable to do so if he has no one to lean on; Republicans must rally behind the 47th president with as much fervor as they’ve had for the 46th. Without a cohesive federal government, it will be nearly impossible for proper, efficient vaccine distribution to take place — a task that the federal government must take on to avoid disorganized distribution, which will only delay our return to normal life.