WILMINGTON, Del. – President-elect Joe Biden slammed the Trump administration’s effort to distribute the Covid vaccine shots, saying President Donald Trump has fallen short of his goal of vaccinating 20 million people.
Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, Biden spoke for 15 minutes and promised to “move heaven and earth” to accelerate the distribution and administration of the Covid vaccines when he takes office in three weeks.
“A few weeks ago, the Trump administration suggested that 20 million Americans could be vaccinated by the end of December. With only a few days left in December, we’ve only vaccinated a few million so far. And the pace of the vaccination program is moving now, as it — if it continues to move as it is now, it’s going to take years, not months, to vaccinate the American people,” Biden said.
Biden reiterated his promise to have administered 100 million doses of vaccine by his 100th day in office. To meet that goal, Biden said he’s instructed his team to develop a “much more aggressive effort with more federal involvement and leadership to get things back on track.”
The President-elect said he “would take ramping up five to six times the current pace to 1 million shots a day.”
“I’m going to move heaven and Earth to get us going in the right direction. I’m going to use my power under the Defense Production Act, when I’m sworn in, in order — and order private industry to accelerate the making of the materials needed for the vaccines as well as protective gear,” Biden said.
He added he would use his authority to have more personal protective equipment available to the frontline workers who need them.
While outline his plan for distributing the Covid-19 vaccine, Biden cautioned Americans it will be a tough challenge ahead to get everyone in the country a shot.
“This will take more time than anyone would like and more time than the promises from the Trump administration have suggested. This is going to be the greatest operational challenge we’ve ever faced as a nation, and we’re going to get it done,” he said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday the country is far below where they expected to be in December when it comes to vaccines.
“We certainly are not at the numbers that we wanted to be at the end of December,” he said.
As of Tuesday morning, just over 11 million doses had been distributed with over 2 million having been given the shot. Officials said they expect to hit the 20 million mark by the first week of January, a month later than Mr. Trump had promised.
The Trump administration had bragged its own efforts when it came to providing pharmaceutical companies with producing and distributing COVID-19 vaccines but “Operation Warp Speed” left the distribution of the vaccine to state health departments.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday morning. This comes a week after Biden and his wife, Jill Biden had theirs.