2/1/2021: The vaccines were dispatched by the federal government to state governments prior to President Biden taking office. The Biden Administration is making efforts to locate them. More details can be found here
President Joe Biden is learning firsthand how difficult former President Donald Trump’s job was over the last year as he struggles to fulfill his promise of getting a handle on the coronavirus. The Biden Administration cannot account for as many as 20 million vaccine doses that have been sent to states, according to a report from Politico.
Despite Biden’s lofty promises to quickly and effectively quell the pandemic, reality is setting in. And the reality is the Biden administration is significantly struggling.
“It’s the Mike Tyson quote: ‘Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth,'” one person with knowledge of the vaccine effort told Politico. “They are planning. They are competent. It’s just the weight of everything when you sit down in that chair. It’s heavy.”
Biden’s team has resumed daily briefings on the response to coronavirus, but the briefings have been vague and short on basic information. That is because, as Politico reports, the Biden administration was having difficulty processing basic information regarding coronavirus and the federal government’s vaccine rollout plan.
Additionally, the team still cannot locate up to 20 million vaccine doses which have been given to the states, slowing down the distribution process even further, according to Politico. The Biden administration is worried that “the crucial supply is boxed away in warehouses, sitting idle in freezers or floating elsewhere in the complex distribution pipeline that runs from the administration to individual states.”
The report also claims that vaccine stockpiles have been “mostly empty.” As a result, the team is struggling to find a way to enhance production to meet their initial goal of 100 million vaccination doses in 100 days. This initial target has been widely criticized as it is not an improvement of the vaccine delivery rate that the Trump administration was hitting.
Julie Morita, a member of the Biden transition team, claimed Biden’s team did not have enough information during the transition process.
“Nobody had a complete picture,” Morita said. “The plans that were being made were being made with the assumption that more information would be available and be revealed once they got into the White House.”
The Biden administration’s fallback appears to be blaming the Trump administration. Despite briefly offering thanks to Trump’s team, Biden told reporters this past week that “the vaccine program [was] in worse shape than we anticipated or expected.” CNN reported that the vaccine distribution plan Biden was inheriting was “nonexistent.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, refuted this report in a press briefing.
“We certainly are not starting from scratch,” Fauci said. ” … You can’t say it was absolutely not usable at all.”