Joe Biden pledged his administration will distribute 100 million coronavirus vaccines to individuals most at risk during his first 100 days in office.
Biden, who has been declared president-elect by multiple media outlets, made the promise when introducing key members of his public health team on Tuesday. During the event, which was held in Wilmington, Delaware, the former vice president discussed the top three public health objectives that his administration would undertake in its first 100 days.
“This team will help get at least 100 million COVID vaccine shots into the arms of the American people in the first 100 days,” he said. “100 million shots in the first 100 days.”
Biden elaborated that his administration “would follow the guidance of science to get the vaccine to those most at risk,” including “healthcare professionals, people in long term care,” and eventually educators.
“This will be the most efficient mass-vaccination plan in U.S. history,” the former vice president added.
Such a “herculean task,” according to Biden, would only be possible if Congress fully funded “vaccine distribution to all corners of the country.” Were Congress not to move quickly, even before his administration took office, Biden suggested that “millions of Americans may wait months longer to get the vaccine” than would normally be required.
“Without urgent action by this Congress, this month, to put sufficient resources into vaccine distribution and manufacturing … there is a real chance that after an early round of vaccinations the effort will slow and stall,” he said.
Biden’s remarks come as two vaccines to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic are being considered for approval by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One of the vaccines, developed by Pfizer in partnership with the German-firm BioNTech, is scheduled to be reviewed for authorization by the FDA on December 10. The second vaccine, developed by the biotechnology giant Moderna, will be reviewed by the agency on December 17.
If approved, either of the vaccines could begin being distributed later this month.
On Tuesday, Biden claimed that his administration’s ability to meet its “100 million shots in 100 days” would depend on how fast President Donald Trump’s White House mobilized after either of the vaccines’ approval.
“We need the Trump administration to act now, though, to purchase the doses it has negotiated with Pfizer and Moderna to scale manufacturing to the U.S. population and the world,” Biden said.
“If it does my team will be able to get at least 100 million vaccinations done in my first 100 days,” he added.