Even though nearly a million Americans were being vaccinated each day against COVID-19 under President Trump, members of the Biden administration say “bottlenecks” and the lack of a comprehensive plan from the former president have caused delays.
Ron Klain, President Biden’s nominee as White House Chief of Staff, said a vaccination plan “did not really exist when we came into the White House.”
“The fundamental difference between the Biden approach and the Trump approach is that we are going to take responsibility at the federal government,” Klain said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
Xavier Becerra, Biden’s nominee to run Health and Human Services, said it’s all Trump’s fault. “The plane in a nosedive. And we’ve got to pull it up,” Becerra said on CNN. “And you’re not going to do that overnight. But we’re going to pull it up. We have to pull it up. Failure is not an option.”
“But first you have to rescue people, you have to rescue the economy,” he said. “President Biden made it clear: it won’t happen overnight.”
Becerra said he has no idea when anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to get one.
“Well, that’s a matter of making sure we’re coordinating with the states, because it’s not the federal government that’s putting the vaccine in the arm,” he said.
“But we are trying to provide it, or providing the resources, and they help to make it happen. And what we want to make sure is that the locals when they’re doing this, have a plan that’s clear,” Becerra continued. “We give people straight shot information. We don’t try to hide the ball. And once we have that information, I guarantee you, we will share.”
Becerra also defended Biden’s vow to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office, which Klain said would be “quite an accomplishment.”
But Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday that the vaccine operation under Trump was already close to that number. “Vaccinations in the U.S. began Dec. 14 with health-care workers, and so far 17.2 million shots have been given, according to a state-by-state tally by Bloomberg and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the last week, an average of 912,497 doses per day were administered,”
That means under Trump, vaccinations were already 91.2% on their way to 1 million a day. Biden will just need to pump that up by a tiny 8.8%, just 87,503 people, to reach his goal.
Bloomberg also gave Trump some credit for creating Operation Warp Speed to quickly develop a vaccine for the virus. “Coronavirus vaccines are coming to market at a record pace, shaving years off the typical development time. That speed has been financed in part by rich countries like the U.S., whose Operation Warp Speed program helped subsidize development and manufacturing of half a dozen novel vaccines.”
In fact, one website keeping track of daily vaccinations in the U.S. said the country hit 1,060,000 vaccines on Saturday.
Related: Biden Wants To Vaccinate 1 Million Americans A Day. Uh, U.S. Inoculated Daily Average Of 912,497 Last Week.
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