DANIEL VAUGHAN: Joe Biden’s inaction is ‘killing people,’ not Facebook

The Biden administration has failed to hit its goal of having 70% of the country vaccinated with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by July 4. In response, he’s claimed he’ll double-down and do more to get vaccines into arms.

According to ABC News, Biden said: “We need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood and, oftentimes, door to door — literally knocking on doors — to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus.”

So, what’s the reason why the Biden administration failed to hit the arbitrary deadline? Right now, instead of taking any personal blame, he’s shifted it outward, blaming Facebook and social media in general. 

Biden specifically lashed out at Facebook, as the Wall Street Journal reported. Biden on Friday accused Facebook of “killing people” by not doing more to remove allegedly false or misleading statements about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“They’re killing people,” the president said in response to a question about companies like Facebook. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people.”

The problem is that his accusation is precisely wrong.

Facebook isn’t “killing people,” nor is it the reason Biden’s deadline failed. The Biden administration kneecapping former President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed is the reason why he didn’t hit his goal. 

Biden, and only Biden’s administration, holds the blame. They were provided the best vaccination rollout in the planet’s history and managed to mismanage it.

Let’s start with the math. When Biden announced the 70% goal on May 4, 2021, we were well on our way to achieving the 70% goal without any input from Biden. At the time, Jim Geraghty at National Review noted precisely this:

As of this morning, according to the CDC, 56.3 percent of Americans over age 18 have at least one dose — 145.3 million adults. Reaching the 75 percent threshold will require another 48.2 million shots. That sounds like a lot, but there are 61 days between tomorrow and July 4 — meaning the United States needs to average a bit more than 790,000 shots per day.

While the number of shots administered per day has dropped from a peak in mid-April, the U.S. is still averaging 2.29 million shots per day. If, starting tomorrow, the U.S. averages half what the current average is — about 1.14 million per day –we will still hit Biden’s goal before the end of June.

According to the CDC, at the end of the past week, on July 17, 68.2% of the adult population had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which means that we still haven’t gotten to our goal two weeks after the deadline. The vaccination effort plummeted from 2.29 million per day to barely staying above 500,000 a day, Bloomberg noted. 

At the time, it was unimaginable that the vaccination rollout instituted by the Trump administration, under Operation Warp Speed, and of which the Biden administration had done little to amplify or change aside from political name changes, would fail. But then it was what the Biden administration didn’t do, as with everything lately, that mattered the most.

The Biden administration allowed the “experts” in charge to begin dismantling the vaccination rollout by making the most lethal move of all, which was harming the public’s trust in COVID-19 vaccine safety.

The best day, numbers-wise, for the vaccination rollout was April 13, 2021. We hit an all-time high. The very next day, the FDA and CDC decided to pause the Johnson & Johnson vaccination over alleged fears of blood clots, which even a cursory knowledge of the data immediately disproved.

The impact was swift and immediate. The Wall Street Journal reported widespread cancellations of COVID-19 vaccination appointments. The most incredible vaccination rollout in history dwindled to the paltry pace it now experiences.

Using his expertise on polling and data, Nate Silver pointed out the obvious to everyone: Pausing the J&J vaccine was going to result in people dying. The vaccine hesitancy that existed at that time exploded, and people slowed down in the rush to get jabbed in the arm, even as the virus raged. And this was long before the “Delta” variant was of significant concern.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is critical in the rollout because it only requires a single shot. The easy storage requirements made it ideal for getting necessary vaccines out to rural and poor communities that likely lacked the storage and supervision that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines required.

Since Johnson & Johnson was only a single shot vaccine, it allowed for more mass-event vaccination campaigns, which began to dwindle soon after the J&J pause.

What did the Biden administration do in response to the turn of events?

Nothing.

They sat on their hands and told reporters at the White House that the pause would have no effect on the rollout campaign, The New York Times noted. Biden sat by while public health officials panicked and decided to pause a rollout, ultimately doing nothing, dramatically increasing vaccine hesitancy, and kneecapping Operation Warp Speed, to boot. 

For an administration that likes to claim all of the successes of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, the Biden administration offered utterly no support to the vaccination rollout.

As a result, we’re now engaged in a bizarre debate over Facebook’s role in the debacle, when the cause was right there all along: The Biden administration did nothing when it mattered, they’ve continued to do nothing to bolster vaccine support, and they only focus on messaging and political spin.

Trump continually harangued both the vaccine companies and federal agencies to speed up and offer new solutions. It’s hard to imagine him not immediately tweeting at those agencies or getting them to stop what they were doing during the pause. From that moment forward in the vaccine rollout, nothing was the same, and the Biden administration has no plans, no expertise, and nothing to offer Americans on speeding up the end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FDA and CDC’s pause of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine killed people. Joe Biden’s inaction is killing people. Facebook, for all its awfulness, isn’t to blame here. They’re just a scapegoat for an ineffectual administration that’s in well over its head. The unvaccinated are paying the price.

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