President Biden made a significant numerical error twice on Friday, claiming that 350 million Americans have been vaccinated, tens of millions more people than the entire U.S. population.
“So we have to get more people vaccinated. I said, well over — what’s the number again, I have to remind myself — 350 million Americans have already been vaccinated. They’re doing fine,” Biden said at the White House during remarks about the July jobs report.
Biden repeated the claim at another point during his remarks.
“We have roughly 350 million people vaccinated in the United States, and billions around the world,” the president said.
Biden’s claim of 350 million vaccinated is 20 million people higher than the country’s whole population, which hit 330 million last year, according to the Census Bureau.
Biden may have intended to refer to the number of vaccine doses administered, which is closer to the number he stated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says on its website that 348.9 million vaccine doses have been administered as of Thursday.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each require recipients to receive two doses per person. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is administered in only one dose.
Half of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, White House Data Director Dr. Cyrus Shahpar said Friday.
Joe Biden just claimed "350 million" Americans have been vaccinated.
There are only 328 million people in the United States. pic.twitter.com/mdJ2VRCp8c
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) August 6, 2021
As of Thursday, the CDC said that about 193.2 million people have received at least one dose of vaccine, and about 165.6 million people are fully vaccinated.
Over the last seven days, 699,261 shots have been administered each day, a nearly 14% increase from the previous week but still down from a peak in April of more than 3 million jabs administered each day.
The first coronavirus vaccine dose was administered nine months ago on on December 14.
Biden has recently made several other unscripted comments that the White House has subsequently had to clarify.
Last month, the president told reporters that Facebook was “killing people” by allowing misinformation about vaccines to proliferate on its platform.
Biden later backtracked, saying that Facebook “isn’t killing people.”
“My hope is that Facebook, instead of taking it personally — that somehow I’m saying Facebook is killing people — that they would do something about the misinformation, the outrageous information about the vaccine. That’s what I meant,” Biden said.
In June, Biden joked that he was “going to get in trouble with my staff” when he took a question from a reporter that was not on his initial list of journalists, sparking concerns about how much control his staff leveraged over his interactions with the press.
This week, Biden reprimanded Republican governors who are resistant to mask mandates and rules requiring people to be vaccinated in order to participate in certain activities.
“If you’re not going to help, at least get out of the way of people trying to do the right thing,” Biden said.
Biden has also expressed his support for New York City’s new rules requiring people to be vaccinated in order to go to the gym or dine indoors.