Bethesda, Maryland: US President Joe Biden on Thursday said the coronavirus vaccination program he inherited from Donald Trump was in “much worse shape” than he had expected, while urging patience and said the government has bought 200 million more doses.
“We’re not going to have everything fixed for a while, but we’re going to fix it,” Biden said in remarks at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
With demand for the vaccine far outstripping supply, Americans are struggling to get appointments for their inoculations, leaving Biden with an acute problem less than a month after taking over from Trump.
Biden said Trump, who spent his last two months in office in a futile effort to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election that he lost, did not order enough vaccine and did not do enough to get people lined up to get vaccinated.
He said the vaccine program he inherited was in “much worse shape” than he had anticipated and that his team had been misled about the vaccine supply.
“While scientists did their job in discovering vaccines in record time, my predecessor - Ill be very blunt about it - did not do his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions,” Biden said.
A Trump representative did not immediately respond to a request for reaction to Biden’s comments. Trump had expressed pride in the speed of the vaccine development on his watch.
Biden said the US government has signed contracts for 100 million doses of the Moderna vaccine and 100 million more from Pfizer.
“We appreciate the confidence that the US government has demonstrated in our COVID-19 Vaccine,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a press release.
Biden said the US coronavirus death toll is likely to reach 500,000 next month. He urged Americans to wear masks to prevent the spread.
“We’ve now purchased enough vaccine to vaccinate all Americans,” Biden said. He said the United States, which has a population of about 330 million, was on track to have 300 million doses by the end of July.