IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Inequity and inefficiency hit vaccine push, plus Biden pursues GOP deal on infrastructure

CVS, Walgreens have wasted hundreds of thousands of Covid vaccine doses, new CDC data shows.
Image: A woman gets a Covid-19 vaccine at a CVS Pharmacy in Providence, R.I., on March 4, 2021.
A woman gets a Covid-19 vaccine at a CVS Pharmacy in Providence, R.I., on March 4, 2021.Pat Greenhouse / Boston Globe via Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Today we're taking a look at some of the issues still hampering the national vaccination effort, the cultural wars playing out in local elections in Texas and what might happen when the U.S. leaves Afghanistan.

Here's what we're watching this Monday morning.

Biden hails progress on vaccine equity, but some local leaders paint a different picture

Illustration of hands of diverse skin tones grabbing a large vaccine syringe.
Adriana Bellet / for NBC News

While more than 200 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered since President Joe Biden was inaugurated, demographic data on who has gotten shots remains largely incomplete.

However recent studies suggest that those hardest hit by Covid-19, including Black and Hispanic Americans, are still lagging in getting vaccinated.

"I wish the Biden administration had made more progress that we could boast about, but I'm not surprised that inequalities haven't been erased in the first 100 days," said Manuel Pastor, a sociology professor who is director of the Equity Research Institute at the University of Southern California.

Clergy and grassroots organizations have been key to getting those communities direct access to the vaccines, but advocates say barriers remain.

Meantime, vaccination distribution has also been hampered by simple waste. CVS and Walgreens, two national pharmacy chains that the federal government entrusted to inoculate people, have wasted hundreds of thousands of Covid vaccine doses, CDC data shows.

Monday's top stories

Nitashia Johnson / for NBC News

Opponents of Texas school diversity plan win big in bitterly divided town

Nine months after officials in an affluent Dallas suburb introduced a proposal to combat racial and cultural intolerance in schools, voters delivered a resounding victory — about 70 percent of the vote— to a slate of school board and City Council candidates who opposed the plan. And in a hotly contested special election to fill a North Texas congressional seat, Republicans Susan Wright and state Rep. Jake Ellzey will advance to a runoff, NBC News projects. By Mike Hixenbaugh and Antonia Hylton | Read more

Biden pursues GOP infrastructure deal as anxious Democrats watch the clock

The president and his allies feel they have a limited window of time to hammer out a potential deal with Republicans on Biden's $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal before members start focusing on the midterm elections. By Sahil Kapur and Shannon Pettypiece | Read more

Biden administration to reunite four migrant families separated under Trump

The Biden family reunification task force estimates that more than 1,000 migrant families separated under Trump still need to be reunited. "We are happy that the first four families will be reunified this week, but this is only the beginning of a very long process involving more than 5,500 children," said a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. By Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff | Read more

OPINION: The perils of early puberty, and how parents can help

Early development — before 8 in girls and 9 in boys — is rising, and it can bring social isolation and debilitating anxiety with it. By Dr. Connie Chang and Dr. Juli Fraga | Read more

Afghanistan's government is in 'slow motion collapse.' What happens when the U.S. leaves?

In a country where transitions of power have often been violent, there is little to reassure Afghans that a peaceful settlement is on the horizon. By Saphora Smith | Read more

BETTER: 6 habits to borrow from people who live the longest

What lifestyle traits from so-called Blue Zones — places where centenarians flourish — can help us get through the pandemic in better health? By Bonnie Taub-Dix | Read more

Want to receive the Morning Rundown in your inbox? Sign up here.

Also in the news ...


You can now pre-order Apple products for 2021, including the AirTag tracking device, Apple TV 4K, iPad Pro and iMac.

One inspiring thing

Alex Trebek passed away in 2020 from pancreatic cancer but his legacy of giving and legendary role as the host of "Jeopardy!" continues to inspire those who knew him best.

His widow, Jean Trebek, discussed how she is continuing her late husband's work in philanthropy with NBC News' Savannah Guthrie as part of the network's Inspiring America special this weekend.

Watch the video here.

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — send me an email at:

If you'd like to receive this newsletter in your inbox Monday to Friday, please sign-up here.

Thanks, Petra