Biden on Friday toured a Pfizer plant in Michigan that produces one of the two federally approved COVID-19 vaccines. Speaking to reporters, Biden said delays in getting Americans vaccinated was due in part to the Trump administration’s failures.
“My predecessor ― as my mother would say, God love him ― failed to order enough vaccines, failed to mobilise the effort to administer the shots, failed to set up vaccine centres,” Biden said. “That changed the moment we took office.”
Part of the administration’s failures included leaving most of the planning for the “last mile” of vaccine distribution almost entirely to state and local public health departments, which were already overwhelmed. Trump’s administration also repeatedly declined offers from Pfizer for millions of additional doses.
“The Trump administration’s plan to distribute the vaccine is falling behind ― far behind,” Biden warned in December.
Since taking office, Biden has set a goal of delivering 100 million shots in his administration’s first 100 days. To speed up the process, Biden said Friday that his administration is working with several federal departments to deploy more vaccinators.
Biden also stressed the safety of the vaccines, and encouraged Americans to get the shot when available to them.
“We all know there’s some hesitancy about taking this vaccine,” Biden said. “We all know there’s a history in this country of having subjected certain communities to terrible medical abuses in the past. But if there’s one message to cut through to everyone in this country, it’s this: The vaccines are safe. Please, for yourself, your family, your community, this country, take the vaccine when it’s your turn and available. That’s how to beat this pandemic.”
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