On Thursday, President Joe Biden celebrated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance on the use of masks for fully vaccinated people, describing it as a “great milestone” made possible “by the extraordinary success we have had in vaccinating so many Americans so quickly.” After CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky cheered the guidelines as an “exciting and powerful moment,” Biden declared that his administration’s vaccine program has “led the world.”
“Over the past 114 days, our vaccination program has led the world and that’s due to the incredible hard work of so many people,” Biden said. “The scientists and researchers, the drug companies, the National Guard, the U.S. Military, FEMA, the nation’s governors, doctors, nurses, pharmacists. Everyone who has moved heaven and Earth to get as many shots into arms of as many Americans as possible. It’s truly been an all-hands-on-deck-for-the-country effort.”
However, Biden seems to be misleading in his claim that his vaccination program has “led the world.” By all available and relevant metrics, the United States does not lead the world in terms of vaccine distribution and application.
Ranking countries by the number of doses administered per 100 people — the best metric for judging vaccine distribution while taking population size into account — the United States is ninth in the world. Seychelles, United Arab Emirates, Israel, San Marino, Bahrain, Chile, Maldives, and the United Kingdom rank higher than the United States.
In terms of raw total of doses administered, the United States doesn’t appear to be first in the world, with Mainland China claiming to have administered almost 90 million more doses than the U.S.
In terms of percentage of the population that has received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the United States is tenth with just 46% of its population vaccinated. Seychelles, San Marino, Bhutan, Israel, Maldives, the United Kingdom, Malta, Mongolia, and Bahrain are all ranked higher than the United States.
The United States does rise in the rankings when we look at the percentage of fully vaccinated people, but only to sixth place with 35% of Americans being fully vaccinated. Seychelles, Israel, San Marino, Chile, and Bahrain all rank higher than the United States.
This is not the first time Biden has made arguably inaccurate claims regarding his vaccine achievements.
“I know it’s ambitious, twice our original goal, but no other country in the world has come close … to what we are doing,” Biden said during a press conference in late March, claiming that the United States has been uniquely successful when it comes to its vaccine program.
In April, Biden said, “And so I set a second goal to deliver 200 million shots in my first 100 days in office — a goal unmatched in the world or in prior mass vaccination efforts in American history,” despite the fact that the goal was not unmatched when adjusted for population size.
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