Vice President Kamala Harris said in an interview that aired Sunday that the Biden administration had to start “from scratch” in its vaccination plans, a claim that Dr. Anthony Fauci disputed last month.
In an interview with Axios founder Mike Allen, Harris claimed that the Biden administration’s vaccine rollout plan was hampered by the Trump administration, which left “no stockpile” of vaccines.
“There was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations. We were leaving it to states and local leaders to try to figure it out,” Harris said.
“In many ways we’re starting from scratch on something that’s been raging for almost an entire year,” she said.
Fauci, the head of the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Disease, contradicted claims that there was no vaccine distribution plan in place when the Biden administration took over.
“We certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution,” Fauci said in a press briefing on Jan. 21.
Fauci was responding to a report from CNN earlier that day reporting unnamed Biden administration officials claiming the Trump administration did not leave a plan to distribute vaccine doses across the country.
Fauci was the top scientist on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force. He was one of the few health officials who President Biden asked to remain in that position.
.@VP Harris: “There was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations. … We’re starting from scratch.”@mikeallen: Are you having to adjust your sights now of what’s possible, given that?@VP: “We’ve gotta figure out a way. … No patience for, ‘It can’t be done.'” #AxiosOnHBO pic.twitter.com/opif5rjg96
— Axios (@axios) February 15, 2021
Vaccinations have ramped up across the U.S. in recent weeks, but nearly a million doses were being distributed on average each day at the end of Trump’s tenure.
Biden pledged to vaccinate 100 million Americans within his first 100 days in office.
According to Bloomberg News, which has tracked vaccinations, 1.5 million doses had been administered as of Jan. 20. The rolling average as of that day was 913,000 doses.
Nearly 2 million doses are currently being administered each day, according to Bloomberg.
Biden criticized his predecessor on Thursday in an announcement that the administration purchased 200 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna.
“While scientists did their job in discovering vaccines in record time, my predecessor — I’ll be very blunt about it — did not do his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions,” Biden said at a press conference.