US President Joe Biden falsely claimed on Tuesday there was no vaccine against COVID-19 when his administration assumed office.
Speaking at CNN Town Hall, Biden said: “When you and I talked last, we talked about – 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?”.
The US president received his first dose of a coronavirus vaccine produced by Pfizer on December 21. A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel approved Pfizer's vaccine for Americans on December 11. Prior to that, the FDA published a draft report acknowledging that the vaccine may cause more than 20 side effects, including seizures, strokes, heart attacks, meningitis, and others.
Biden says there was no vaccine when he came into office.— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) February 17, 2021
That is abjectly FALSE. President Trump brought about the fastest vaccine for a novel pathogen in history.
How does Joe get away with this? pic.twitter.com/OcFeVbQ3At
The US president also expressed uncertainty whether COVID-19 vaccines available at the moment will be effective enough against certain strains of the virus. US scientists earlier expressed concerns about the efficiency of the existing vaccines when fighting new COVID-19 strains that have popped up recently, such as the UK and South African variants of coronavirus.
Concerning the vaccine rollout, the president said that every American who wants to get vaccinated will be able to get a shot by the end of July this year. “If you can get a vaccination, get it whenever you can get it, regardless of the other strains that are out there”, he added.
Biden said that citizens of color should be prioritized in having access to the vaccine, since, according to him, they have been inoculated at a much lower percentage than white Americans. Teachers also fall into the prioritized category, he said: “I think that we should be vaccinating teachers; we should move them up the hierarchy as well”.
On entering office on January 20, Biden had promised to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccines by his 100th day in office. As of Thursday, nearly 40 million Americans had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.