Earlier this week, Joe Biden said “we didn’t have” a COVID-19 vaccine when he took office. It was quickly dismissed as a gaffe because, as we all know, there was indeed a COVID-19 vaccine when Biden took office. Biden himself received his two doses before taking office. I questioned whether Biden’s “gaffe” was indeed a gaffe because we’d already seen significant evidence that the Biden administration has been trying to create a false narrative that the Trump administration left them no plan for vaccine distribution and that Biden was “starting from scratch.”
Even Dr. Fauci contradicted that claim.
Nevertheless, the lies and the smears continue. On Friday, Joe Biden claimed that before he took office there was “no real plan” to vaccinate most of the country, and specifically blamed President Trump for not purchasing enough vaccines.
“Just over four weeks ago, America had no real plan to vaccinate most of the country. My predecessor, as my mother would say, ‘failed to order enough vaccines,’ failed to mobilize the effort to administer the shots… That changed the moment we took office.”
This, of course, is absurd. In July of 2020, the Trump administration ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine under development by Pfizer, Inc. upon its approval. The agreement with Pfizer would allow the government to purchase an additional 500 million doses. In August, the Trump administration ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine under development by Moderna, Inc. upon its approval.
“Through Operation Warp Speed, we are assembling a portfolio of vaccines to increase the odds that the American people will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar at the time. “Depending on success in clinical trials, today’s agreement will enable the delivery of approximately 100 million doses of the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.”
Pfizer’s COVID vaccine was approved by the FDA for emergency use on December 11, 2020. The vaccine was developed and approved in 9 months–it was a “medical miracle,” as President Trump put it. “We’ve delivered a safe and effective vaccine in just 9 months… This is one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in history.” On the same day, the Trump administration purchased 100 million more doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine upon its approval by the FDA, doubling its order. That vaccine was approved by the FDA a week later.
An additional 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine were purchased by the Trump administration on December 23, 2020.
That comes to at least 400 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna ordered by the Trump administration before Joe Biden took office. The population of the United States is 331 million people. Both vaccines are a two-dose shot, meaning that the Trump administration had ordered enough vaccines to innoculate 60 percent of the United States population before Biden even took office.
Last week, the Biden administration ordered an additional 100 million doses from both Pfizer and Moderna, bringing the total of doses purchased by the U.S. government to 600 million.
As of February 18, 2021, 57.74 million doses had been administered, less than 60 percent of the initial government purchase of 100 million doses, and just over 14 percent of the doses ordered by the Trump administration. The Trump administration was also exceeding Biden’s target pace for vaccinations. So, it’s very wrong of Joe Biden to suggest we don’t have enough vaccines because of Trump. This is not a gaffe, this is a deliberate and malicious lie.