Romney slams vaccine rollout plan

By Michael Gartland
New York Daily News/TNS

As state and local governments struggle to vaccinate Americans for COVID-19, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, blasted the federal government’s vaccine rollout plan Friday, calling it “incomprehensible” and “inexcusable.”

Romney rang in the New Year with the broadside against President Donald Trump, which he posted on his Senate webpage Friday morning.

“That comprehensive vaccination plans have not been developed at the federal level and sent to the states as models is as incomprehensible as it is inexcusable,” Romney wrote. “I know that when something isn’t working, you need to acknowledge reality and develop a plan - particularly when hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake.”

The rollout - which Trump dubbed Operation Warp Speed - has been plagued by delays and logistical problems ever since the federal government began distributing vaccine doses last month.

On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to vaccinate 1 million New Yorkers by the end of January, but said doing so would be contingent on assistance from the feds, as well as vaccine manufacturers and the state government.

Other parts of the country face their own challenges. Many of the vaccine doses delivered to Florida still have not been used. And in California, low staffing levels threaten to slow the vaccine’s rollout there.

Romney offered several policy proscriptions to speed vaccine distribution Friday. One of them would be to “enlist every medical professional, retired or active, who is not currently engaged in the delivery of care.”

“This could include veterinarians, combat medics and corpsmen, medical students, EMS professionals, first responders, and many others who could be easily trained to administer vaccines,” he wrote. “Congress has already appropriated funding for states so that these professionals can be fully compensated.”

Romney said vaccinations should be scheduled by one’s birthday and vaccine priority status and that the feds should create a framework for establishing vaccination sites in schools — a policy de Blasio said he would enact in the Big Apple this month.

“The current program is woefully behind despite the fact that it encompasses the two easiest populations to vaccinate: frontline workers and long-term care residents,” he added. “Unless new strategies and plans are undertaken, the deadly delays may be compounded as broader and more complex populations are added. We are already behind; urgent action now can help us catch up.”

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, arrives at the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, Sept. 9, 2020, in Washington, D.C.