Biden inherits non-existent coronavirus vaccine distribution plan and must start from scratch, sources say

Biden inherits non-existent coronavirus vaccine distribution plan and must start from scratch, sources say

The Biden administration has vowed to try to reverse the Covid-19 pandemic and dramatically speed up the pace of Americans being vaccinated against the virus. But within hours of Biden taking the oath on Wednesday, sources with first-hand knowledge of the new administration’s work related to Covid told CNN that one of the biggest shocks Biden’s team has had to take digesting during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy under former President Donald Trump, even weeks after the approval of several vaccines in the United States.

“There is nothing to rework. We’re going to have to build everything from scratch, ”said a source.

Another source described when it became clear that the Biden administration would essentially have to start from “square one” because there just was no plan as follows: “Wow, just another assertion of incompetence complete. “

The incoming White House is now facing intense pressure to keep promises Biden made during the campaign and the transitional phase to radically change the situation on the pandemic and conduct itself completely differently from Trump when it comes to the virus and distribution. vaccines. During the transition period, Biden openly criticized what he described as a “dismal” deployment of Covid vaccines under the Trump administration, noting that he placed significant responsibility on his predecessor for the situation he would ultimately inherit.

Two Covid-19 vaccines were approved for use in the United States before Trump stepped down. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 16.5 million doses of vaccine had been administered as of January 20 – a far cry from the last administration’s goal of delivering 20 million doses of vaccine by January 20. the end of 2020.

The new administration has asked some of the key players who worked on Covid and vaccines under Trump to step down, including Operation Warp Speed ​​chief scientific advisor Moncef Slaoui and surgeon general Jerome Adams. He kept others like Dr Anthony Fauci, who is now Biden’s chief medical adviser on Covid-19. Adams was asked to remain as an advisor.

During a White House press briefing Thursday afternoon, Fauci dismissed the suggestion that the Biden administration should build a distribution plan from “scratch.”

“We are certainly not starting from scratch, as there is activity going on in distribution,” Fauci said, adding that the Biden administration “is significantly” amplifying “existing vaccine distribution efforts.

“I mean we come in with new ideas, but also ideas with… the old administration. You can’t say it was absolutely not usable at all, ”Fauci said.

Prior to inauguration day, some of Biden’s Covid-19 advisers had wanted to be careful not to be overly critical in public about the Trump administration’s handling of the virus and vaccine, given that the transition team de Biden was already struggling to get critical information. and the cooperation of the outgoing administration, a source said.

Now that the transition of power has taken place, the Biden administration is hoping that it can quickly begin to get a clearer picture of the real situation of vaccine distribution and administration across the country, going through an exercise in ” fact-checking ”. on exactly what the Trump administration did and didn’t do, they added.

CNN previously reported that the most pressing concerns of Biden’s team on …

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