President-elect Joe Biden criticized President Donald Trump’s promised swift coronavirus vaccine rollout, saying it has fallen behind expectations, Reuters reported.
Biden, speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, said some 2 million people have been vaccinated, well short of the 20 million Trump had promised by the end of the year.
“As I long feared and warned, the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should,” Biden said, delivering remarks on the Covid-19 crisis from Wilmington, Delaware.
“A few weeks ago, the Trump administration suggested that 20 million Americans could be vaccinated by the end of December. With only a few days left in December, we’ve only vaccinated a few million so far,” he added.
Biden said if the vaccination program continues at the current pace “it’s going to take years, not months, to vaccinate the American people.” The President-elect had received a briefing from his Covid-19 advisory team earlier Tuesday, a transition official told CNN.
On December 9, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on CNN’s “New Day” that “20 million people should get vaccinated in just the next several weeks.”
About 11.4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been distributed in the US and about 2.1 million have been administered as of Tuesday evening, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The President-elect has laid out a plan to distribute 100 million vaccine shots, which is enough to cover 50 million people, in his initial 100 days in office. He reiterated on Tuesday that Congress would need to provide the necessary funding in order to reach that goal.
But Biden cautioned that even with the funding, vaccinating the entire US population would still take time. He said even if the vaccinations were ramped up to 1 million shots per day, it would still take months to vaccinate the majority of the population.
“This is going to be the greatest operational challenge we’ve ever faced as a nation,” Biden said. “But we’re going to get it done. But it’s going to take a vast new effort that’s not yet underway.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that he is still “pretty confident” that a Covid-19 vaccine would be available to most Americans by April.