US Surgeon General responds to criticisms of COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Dr. Jerome Adams speaks exclusively on “GMA” after the Trump administration falls far short of its goal of delivering 20 million vaccine doses by the end of the year.
3:49 | 12/31/20

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Transcript for US Surgeon General responds to criticisms of COVID-19 vaccine rollout
James, THA you so much. Joining us is scourgen general Dr. Jerome Adams. Thanks for being with us. I always wanted to do new year's eve in times square but in true 2020 we're doing it virtually. Leaders of "Operation warp speed" say it's not going as quickly as planned. 2 million vaccinations logged falling far short of 20 million by the end of the year by the administration. Do you agree with the president's assessment that it falls at the loclevel, not the federal? Here's what the American people need to know. There's vaccines manufactured. There's vaccines allocated and delivered and then there's vaccines put in arms. I used to run a state health department. People forget that. We've always underfunded public health going back several decades so chronically we need to continue to fund state and local public health better. But I want people to know as someone who gets to run a health department I've been out on the ground with these health departments since September, Dr. Birx out on the ground and have been working with them to ramp up their ability to administer them. From a federal perspective we are on track to have 20 million people able to be vaccinated, doses on the ground by the end of next week as general Perna said and on track from that perspective and have to help the state even local entities to get them administered. Because having the ability is one thing but there are reports Washington state has used only a fraction of the vaccine doses delivered in Maryland it's estimated 0% of the state's vaccines have not been administered and the governor says federal support is lacking. The federal government spent a lot on these, public health agencies are often underfunded and stretched thing. Shouldn't the federal government be doing more? We're talking about every single day. Here's what I want people to understand. I talked to Tony Fauci and we always knew that this was going to take a while to ramp up. We've still early, 17 days from eua. What people should be most excited about is that the curve is rapidly increasing in terms of number of people being vaccinated so shouldn't extrapolate from what happened yesterday to what's going to happen six months from now but make sure it continues to go up and continue to support our state and public health departments which is whate're That curve going up is good news. Another case has been confirmed in the U.S., first in Colorado, now in California. Because viruses mutate, that's what anydo, we're likely to see more variants, how worried should we be? Well, here's what you should do. Take any worry you have and understand the vaccines still look like they're going to work and talked to Dr. Collins and Fauci about it as recently as yesterday. A more contagious variant means it's more critical we follow basic health measures, wash your hands, wait your distance and wait to gather. I know you sacrificed much this year. We don't want to trip at the finish line. Be cautious tonight, have our gatherings virtually and make sure we wash our lands thoroughly and make sure we check out the tips for safeguarding on the website. We want to have a normal new year next year and want as many loved ones and family and friends to be able to enjoy it in 2021. The way we do it by pulling together and sacrificing one more time to ramp up the vaccinations and put the virus away for good. This has been a marathon. We don't want to trip at the finish line. Thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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