Biden Claims ‘We Didn’t Have’ a COVID Vaccine When He Took Office

President Biden claimed at one point during a CNN town hall on Tuesday that his administration came into office with no coronavirus vaccines available.

Biden received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 21, and the second dose in January. While discussing the issue of vaccine supply during the town hall, Biden initially said there were 50 million doses available when he assumed office.

“We came into office, there were only 50 million doses that were available. By the end of July we’ll have over 600 million doses,” Biden told host Anderson Cooper.

However, Biden also said “we got into office and found out…there was nothing in the refrigerator, figuratively and literally speaking, and there were 10 million doses a day that were available.” (The Biden administration’s initial target was to administer 1 million vaccine doses per day, a pace already set by the time the president was sworn in.)

“It’s one thing to have the vaccine, which we didn’t have when we came into office, but” one also needs “a vaccinator,” Biden subsequently told Cooper, when asked about the logistics of getting shots to Americans.

The U.S. is currently administering coronavirus vaccine doses at a seven-day rolling average of 1.7 million per day, according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker. The pace of vaccinations has risen steadily since December 14, when a New York nurse received the first shot outside of a clinical trial.

The Biden administration has downplayed the efforts of the previous administration in aiding the development and distribution of COVID vaccines. Vice President Kamala Harris said that the Biden administration was “starting from scratch” on vaccine production in an interview with Axios over the weekend, contradicting Dr. Fauci, who said in January “we certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution.”

Additionally, Biden addressed the stalled reopening of school districts across the U.S. during the town hall, calling reports that his administration planned to open schools for one day per week a miscommunication

Biden contradicted White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said last week that the administration hoped to open schools for “at least one day a week in the majority of schools by day 100.” Psaki later said the administration was committed to opening schools five days a week on condition that coronavirus mitigation measures were in place.

“Your administration had set a goal to open the majority of schools in your first 100 days. You’re now saying that means those schools may only be open for at least one day a week,” Cooper told Biden.

“That’s not true. It was a mistake in the communication,” Biden said, adding that his administration’s goal was to open schools in grades K-8 for five days per week.

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