AP FACT CHECK: Biden overstates his record on COVID vaccine

President Joe Biden is contending that the surge of COVID-19 vaccinations once he took office came about because he had the government buy all available doses

Via AP news wire
Friday 22 October 2021 03:48
Biden
Biden

President Joe Biden botched the numbers behind the COVID-19 vaccine rollout Thursday as he stretched to take all the credit for the surge of shots once he was in office.

A look at his remarks during a CNN town hall event:

BIDEN: “When I first was elected, there were only 2 million people who had COVID shots in the United States of America — and the vaccine. Now we got 190 million, because I went out and bought everything I could do and buy in sight and it worked."

THE FACTS: No, that’s not how the vaccine rollout in the U.S. happened. Biden is overstating his part.

First, it's not true that 2 million people had shots when he was elected in November. The COVID-19 vaccines were still awaiting emergency authorization then. The first shots were administered to the public in mid-December.

Nearly 16 million doses had been administered by Jan. 20, the day Biden took office. And Biden didn’t buy up all the doses — the Trump administration had purchased 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna in December, weeks before Biden was inaugurated.

The Trump administration's vaccine plan fell short of its goals and suffered from disarray out of the gate. On Inauguration Day, less than half of the 36 million doses distributed to the states by the federal government had been administered.

Even so, the plan set the stage for an acceleration of vaccinations that did not happen solely because Biden "went out and bought everything I could do."

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Seitz reported from Columbus, Ohio. David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.

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EDITOR'S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures.

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Find AP Fact Checks at http://apnews.com/APFactCheck

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