“Our plan is as clear as it is bold: Get more people vaccinated for free, create more places for them to get vaccinated, mobilize more medical teams to get the shots in people’s arms, increase supply, and get it out the door as soon as possible,” Biden said in a speech in Wilmington, Del.
The speech came five days before his inauguration and a day after an address in which he called for a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan that includes $20 billion for a national vaccination program. It also took place shortly after data showed Americans are growing more hopeful about the economy thanks in part to the shots.
Biden said his incoming administration planned five changes to “help us meet our goal of 100 million shots by the end of our first 100 days in office.”
“First, we will immediately work with states to open up vaccinations to more priority groups,” he said, adding that will include frontline essential workers and anyone who is 65 or older.
Biden then promised “100 federally supported centers across the nation” that would get set up “by the end of our first month in office.”
His third change will be activating pharmacies across the country to get the vaccine into more arms as quickly as possible, and the fourth will be using the “full strength of the federal government to ramp up supply of the vaccines,” Biden said. His fifth issue was a pledge to “always be honest and transparent.”
President Donald Trump’s administration had planned to have 20 million people vaccinated by the end of December, but a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker on Friday afternoon was showing just 12 million people had been vaccinated.
Operation Warp Speed leaders waited more than two months to approve a plan to distribute and administer vaccines proposed by U.S. health officials, leaving states with little time to implement a mass-vaccination campaign, said a Wall Street Journal report on Friday. Operation Warp Speed is the federal government program created to accelerate the development of therapies and vaccines.
Until this week, Trump officials hadn’t allowed Biden officials to attend meetings of Operation Warp Speed, according to a Washington Post report.