The United States will speed up delivery of COVID-19 vaccines across the country, President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, as his administration plans to purchase an additional 200 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
In remarks to the White House, Biden warned that even with more Americans due to be vaccinated “sooner than expected” because of the extra doses, the pandemic will continue to get worse before it gets better.
“It’s going to be months before we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated,” said Biden, who urged people to wear masks in the meantime to prevent the spread of the virus.
The United States has recorded the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world at more than 25.4 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 424,000 coronavirus-related deaths have also been reported across the country.
Biden’s remarks come as his new administration struggles to get a feel for the scope and scale of the vaccination plan put in place by his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
Biden gave the Trump administration credit for getting the vaccination program ‘off the ground’ on Tuesday, but said ‘it’s no secret’ that the program was’ in worse shape than we had planned or planned ”.
Biden officials were unable to say how many vaccines the government had in stock, while uneven distribution led to confusion and delays in some states. Biden has pledged to administer 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during his first 100 days in office.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says on its website that more than 23.5 million doses were administered as of Tuesday morning, out of a total of more than 44.3 million doses distributed.
It is estimated that one million Americans currently receive the vaccine every day.
Republicans criticized Biden’s criticism of Team Trump’s efforts. Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the top Republicans in the House, tweeted last week that “the United States is already on track for 100 million doses in 100 days.”
Don’t let the media and Democratic politicians turn it around:
Biden’s vaccination plan is Trump’s vaccination plan.
The United States was already on track for 100 million doses in 100 days.
They will try to tell you it’s a new plan. It’s not.
– Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) January 21, 2021
Meanwhile, the White House is expected to hold a briefing on Wednesday with public health experts to provide information on the vaccine situation and Biden’s efforts to fight the pandemic.
A “fact sheet” distributed by the White House Communications Office with Biden’s remarks on Tuesday outlines three steps the Biden administration is taking to “boost vaccine supply and increase vaccine transparency.”
In addition to purchasing 200 million additional doses, the administration will increase the number of vaccine doses distributed to U.S. states to 10 million per week, from 8.6 million per week at the current rate.
The Department of Health and Human Services will also provide better forecasting information to national and local authorities on how many doses to expect three weeks in advance. This will help state and local heads to plan vaccination efforts more effectively, the White House said.
The purchase of additional doses would bring the total volume of vaccines procured by the government to 600 million doses. Biden said the additional doses will be delivered by mid-September.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris received her second dose of the vaccine on Tuesday. She had received her first dose on December 29.
“I urge everyone to take the vaccine when it’s their turn,” Harris said after receiving the vaccine.
“It’s relatively painless and will save your life,” she says.
Biden invoked the Defense Production Act, a 1950 war statute, to direct the production of syringes, needles, glass vials, other supplies needed to distribute and administer the vaccine.
He said he also ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build and open federal vaccination centers and send doses of the vaccine to thousands of pharmacies across the country for free distribution. .
“It’s a war enterprise. This is not hyperbole. And as such, I have ordered the team to be ready to exercise all the authorities I have, under the Defense Production Act and to speed up these vaccines, ”Biden said.