Trump administration staffers at almost every professional level "shamelessly" attempted to jump the COVID-19 vaccine line in the early stages of the national drive late last year, a senior administration official told Vanity Fair. It reportedly didn't matter how healthy they were, if they were working home, or how seriously they took pandemic precautions before the shots were available. The requests were coming through.
It's unclear who and how many people were successful in their efforts to get vaccinated within the administration, but Vanity Fair notes that many of them ran into a wall. "It ain't happening" was a common response to the requests, another senior administration official said. That was in part because former President Donald Trump made it clear White House employees should wait their turn. Still, the attempts appear to be representative of the administration's confusing, arbitrary process to vaccinate federal workers.
The plan, spearheaded by the National Security Council, was initially carefully thought out and involved months of deliberations over which federal workers should be prioritized. Ultimately, though, the strategy turned into a "boondoggle," per Vanity Fair, with much of the blame directed at Gen. Gus Perna, who was in charge of vaccine allocation logistics. Perna reportedly scuttled much of the original plan and instead reportedly declared that any federal agency that wanted a supply of shots had to brief him in person. Some with knowledge of the process reportedly believe the change came after Perna realized he could not meet commitments he made to states, forcing him to try to whittle down the number of eligible federal employees. Read more at Vanity Fair.