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President Joe Biden falsely claimed during a CNN town hall on Tuesday night that his administration did not have a vaccine to work with when he came into office, saying, “It’s one thing to have the vaccine, which we didn’t have when we came into office, but a vaccinator, how do you get the vaccine into someone’s arm?”
“What we did, we got into office and found out the supply, there was no backlog, I mean, there was nothing in the refrigerator, figuratively and literally speaking,” Biden claimed. “And there are 10 million doses a day that were available. We’ve upped that in the first three weeks that we were in office to significantly more than that, we’ve moved out, went to the Pfizer and Moderna and said, can you produce more vaccine and more rapidly? And not only agree to go from 200 to 400, then they agreed to go to 600 million doses.”
“So if end of April, excuse me, the end of July, they’re available to actually get them in the arms of people who want them that will take what, a couple more months?” CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked.
“Well, no, a lot will be being vaccinated in the meantime. In other words, it’s not all of a sudden 600 million doses are going to appear,” Biden answered. “And what’s going to happen is it’s going to continue to increase as we move along. And we’ll have we’ll have reached 400 million by the end of May and 600 million by the middle of by the end of July.”
“It’s one thing to have the vaccine, which we didn’t have when we came into office, but a vaccinator, how do you get the vaccine into someone’s arm?” Biden continued. “So you need the paraphernalia, you need the needle, you need the mechanisms to be able to get it in, you have to have people who can inject it in people’s arms.”
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 17, 2021
Just two days after Biden took office, Bloomberg News reported that the U.S. was almost already on track to meet Biden’s goal of 100 million vaccinations in 100 days.
The report said:
In the week Biden was sworn in as president, nearly 983,000 shots a day were administered on average over the seven days ending Friday, according to data from Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker. The most recent three days topped a million doses. …
Pressed on the 100-million-dose goal on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained the math behind the administration’s thinking. She said that under Trump, 17 million doses had been administered in the first 38 days, for an average rate of less than 500,000 a day, and Biden’s team hoped to double that.
Bloomberg’s data show that the rate has increased substantially since the first weeks of the rollout. A more ambitious plan would be to double the current rate of vaccinations—not the average rate during the early phase of vaccine distribution. That’s what some Republicans have called for.
Joe Biden got his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on January 11, which was 9 days before he entered the White House.
What a bizarre lie he just told on national TV. pic.twitter.com/PyzyU857KY
— Caleb Hull (I'm With the CCP Don't Ban Me) (@CalebJHull) February 17, 2021
Left-wing fact-checkers rushed to Biden’s defense, claiming that his remark was “a typical Biden gaffe.”
“It was a verbal stumble, a typical Biden gaffe, as he had already mentioned 50 million doses being available when he took office,” Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote. “Ex Trump officials should especially cool the outrage meter, as it just looks silly.”
It was a verbal stumble, a typical Biden gaffe, as he had already mentioned 50 million doses being available when he took office. Ex Trump officials should especially cool the outrage meter, as it just looks silly. https://t.co/HFjH01lXgH
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) February 17, 2021
CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale also rushed to Biden’s defense, writing: “Biden had said just prior that there were ‘only’ 50 million vaccine doses when he took office. I’m looking into that claim (and a bunch of other claims Biden made tonight), but he clearly wasn’t trying to claim the vaccine did not exist at all under Trump.”
Biden had said just prior that there were "only" 50 million vaccine doses when he took office. I'm looking into that claim (and a bunch of other claims Biden made tonight), but he clearly wasn't trying to claim the vaccine did not exist at all under Trump. https://t.co/2EtKDWyR7o
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 17, 2021
This report has been updated to include reaction from left-wing fact-checkers who rushed in to defend Biden.