Early on in the new administration, President Joe Biden attracted criticism for suggesting that the Trump White House left his team woefully unprepared to effectively deliver COVID-19 vaccine doses to communities nationwide.
Though that position has been widely rejected, Vice President Kamala Harris was nonetheless caught repeating it during recent remarks on the topic.
“Leaving it to the states and local leaders”
Her allegation that the Biden administration was forced to “start from scratch” was backed up by health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, who seemed to contradict earlier statements in an apparent effort to support his new bosses.
For his part, Biden wasted no time casting blame on his predecessor, claiming just last week that Trump “did not do his job” in formulating a robust inoculation plan.
Judging from the president’s own ambitions of administering 100 million doses in 100 days, however, Trump had succeeded in setting the right pace before leaving office.
Not letting pesky facts get in the way of her partisan argument, Harris doubled down on Biden’s claim, telling Axios that there was “no stockpile” of vaccine doses ready when the new administration took over the White House.
“There was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations,” she claimed. “We were leaving it to the states and local leaders to try and figure it out.”
“It was not a well-coordinated plan”
The vice president went on to declare that “in many ways, we’re starting from scratch on something that’s been raging for almost an entire year!”
Critics were quick to point out the clearly misleading and “disingenuous” nature of her claim — particularly since vaccines are not developed to be left sitting around amid a global pandemic.
Others made it clear that Harris’ claim had been effectively debunked by Fauci, who denied the claim when Biden’s staff first trotted it out shortly after Inauguration Day. Despite his earlier remarks, Fauci reversed his position this week by accusing Trump of failing to develop a “plan” for the incoming administration.
“What I think the vice president is referring to is, the actual plan of getting the vaccine doses into people’s arms was really rather vague,” he said in an interview with CNN. “I mean, it was not a well-coordinated plan.”
For many Americans, the irony of the situation is that the Biden administration does not appear to have much of a plan of its own. Critics note that Biden has already backed away from a vow to reopen schools within 100 days while resetting other lofty goals related to his vaccine response plan.