President Donald Trump’s administration had projected 20 million people would be vaccinated by the end of December. The US is at 4.8 million first-dose vaccinations as of Tuesday, missing its 2020 goal by more than 75 percent.

Several factors appear to have contributed to the slow rollout. The Trump administration opted to leave much of the planning and coordination to state and local governments, which are already hammered by the pandemic. This has led to a fragmented, underresourced rollout, and a variety of problems have popped up from state to state and city to city as a result.

Of particular concern is what supply chain experts call the “last mile”: While the federal government has managed to ship tens of millions of doses of vaccines to states, getting vaccines from storage facilities to patients’ arms has proven a bigger logistical challenge than officials apparently anticipated. Sometimes it’s a truck, freezer, or other equipment breaking down. In certain places, there aren’t enough people on staff on a specific day to meet scheduling demands. And conflicting or incomplete information about how many doses a certain facility will get at any given time can make scheduling or planning next to impossible.

This is a matter of life or death, with every day of unsolved problems inflicting an unnecessary toll on a country that’s already suffered so much from the coronavirus. With more than 2,500 people dying of Covid-19 in the US each day, every day of delay means potentially thousands more dead friends, family members, and neighbors across the country.

Addressing these issues quickly, then, could save a lot of lives. It could also get us back to normal — back to the lives we took for granted before 2020 — much more quickly. But that begins with the federal government stepping up to its leadership role at a time of national crisis.

Read the full article about the U.S. roll-out of the vaccine by German Lopez at Vox.