President-elect Joe Biden criticized President Donald Trump for moving too slowly on the coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday. The president-elect made public remarks from Wilmington, Delaware, according to a report by The Associated Press, arguing that the Trump administration has not been moving fast enough. As if in response, Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning that it is "up to the states" to get people vaccinated.
Speaking from his home state, Biden acknowledged the rising coronavirus death toll, which has now crossed 336,000 Americans. He warned that "things will get worse before they get better," as the pandemic is expected to surge due to holiday travel and other considerations. "We need to be honest — the next few weeks and months are going to be very tough, very tough for our nation. Maybe the toughest during this entire pandemic," he said.
Biden said that Americans would need to "steel our spines" for the coming weeks before calling out the Trump administration directly. He said: "As I long feared and warned, the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should." He said that at the current pace, "it's gonna take years, not months, to vaccinate the American people."
When the COVID-19 vaccine was approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Trump's team said that it could have 20 million doses of the drug distributed by the end of the year. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, however, just over 11.4 million doses have now been distributed, with less than 36 hours remaining in the year. Even more alarmingly, only 2.1 million people have actually received the first dose of the vaccine.
This may be what Trump was referring to on Wednesday morning when he tweeted: "The Federal Government has distributed the vaccines to the states. Now it is up to the states to administer. Get moving!" Many took this as a direct response to Biden's comments the day before.
The Federal Government has distributed the vaccines to the states. Now it is up to the states to administer. Get moving!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2020
Biden promised that when he takes office next month, he will carry out a "much more aggressive effort, with more federal involvement and leadership, to get things back on track." His goal is to get 100 million Americans vaccinated within his first 100 days in office — administering about 1 million shots per day around the U.S. This would be an increase of five or six times the current rate of vaccinations.
Biden warned that it "will still take months to have the majority of Americans vaccinated," but he believes that should be the number one priority to help the U.S. recover from this pandemic. Details on each coronavirus vaccine are available from the CDC.