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What is the meaning of the following sentence?

Vaccinating the nation, however, is less a race than a slow and steady process.

Does it mean vaccinating a nation is less than a race but more than a slow and steady process?

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No, it is saying that it is less true that it is a race than it is true that it is a slow and steady process. The only other way to say what you said that occurs to me is to say it "is in between" and then list the two extremes.

It might help to point out that it is equivalent if I include "it is", as in:

Vaccinating the nation, however, is less a race than it is a slow and steady process.

And the resulting meaning is no different than

Vaccinating the nation, however, is less fast than it is slow.

(which you would never actually say unless in ridicule - you would just say something like "Vaccinating the nation is slow." or "is slow, rather than fast.")

The phrase has been made longer probably to "step back" a bit, and remember what the topic of the piece of writing is, while noting that some people might have expected the process of vaccination to be quicker.

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