JOE BIDEN: "You have my word that we will manage the hell out of this operation.”
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden laid out his plan to get Americans vaccinated and promised to do better than President Donald Trump in controlling the pandemic.
Speaking near his home in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday, Biden said he would invoke the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of equipment needed for vaccine rollout, refrigeration and storage.
BIDEN: “Look, our plan is as clear as it is bold, get more people vaccinated for free, create more places for them to get vaccinated, mobilize more medical teams to get the shots in people's arms, increase supply and get it out the door as soon as possible."
Under Biden's plan, federal disaster-relief workers would set up thousands of vaccination centers, where retired doctors would administer shots to teachers, grocery store workers, people over 65 years old and other groups who do not currently qualify.
He has pledged to vaccinate 100 million Americans during his first 100 days in office as the coronavirus has killed more than 390,000 people in the U.S. and the death tally could reach 500,000 by February, according to a top Biden adviser.
Biden said his administration will release the vast majority of doses when they become available, rather than holding back a large portion to ensure that recipients can get a second dose, which had been the Trump administration's approach for much of the rollout.
The Trump administration had aimed to give vaccine doses to 20 million Americans by the end of 2020, but only 12.3 million coronavirus shots had been administered as of Friday morning out of more than 31 million doses distributed to states, according to data from the CDC.
MINNESOTA GOV. TIM WALZ: “They were lying. They don't have any doses held back. There is no strategic supply for the second doses."
Biden’s vaccine plan comes as governors of several states accused the Trump administration on Friday of deception in pledging to immediately distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses from a stockpile that the U.S. health secretary has since acknowledged does not exist.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had said on Tuesday that the administration would release millions of doses it had been holding in reserve for booster shots in order to help spur a sluggish rollout of first doses to those most in need of the vaccine.
But on Friday Azar suggested in an interview with NBC News that the doses in question had already been allocated to the states.