Issues & Insights

Biden Then: Trump Is Rushing COVID Vaccine; Biden Now: Trump Is Going Too Slow

I&I Editorial

Joe Biden has started attacking the Trump administration for not getting the COVID vaccines distributed fast enough. It’s the exact opposite of what Biden was saying before the election.

“As I long feared and warned, the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should,” Biden said last week.

As he “long feared and warned”? Who is he kidding?

Before the election, the only fear Biden expressed was that Trump was making wildly unrealistic claims about how quickly a vaccine could be developed, and that Trump was putting pressure on regulators to rush approval. “I trust scientists,” Biden said in September, “But I don’t trust Donald Trump, and at this moment, the American people can’t either.”  He added that “The idea that there’s going to be a vaccine and everything’s gonna be fine tomorrow – it’s just not rational.”

Biden also said that even if a vaccine did miraculously emerge by Election Day, it wouldn’t be available to most Americans until “well into 2021.”

Meanwhile, the only warning Biden issued was that the country faced “a dark winter ahead.”

So what actually happened? Two vaccines were developed by Election Day, and both were quickly approved by federal regulators on an emergency basis.

Even the New York Times credited the Trump administration for the speed of these developments, saying that:

Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s effort to fast-track the development and rollout of vaccines, spent billions of dollars to help drug companies test and manufacture their vaccines and ensure that they would have a buyer. Those investments helped vaccines become available much faster than many experts had predicted.

Yet instead of crediting Trump for achieving what Biden and his cadre of scientists said was impossible, Biden is now attacking Trump for supposedly taking too long to get the vaccines out to the public.

Last week, Biden complained that at the current rate “it’s going to take years, not months,” to vaccinate the public.

Our World in Data

But it’s been only three weeks since the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval of Pfizer’s vaccine, and two weeks since it approved Moderna’s. And in that time, more than 13 million doses have been distributed and more than 4 million people have received at least the first of the two-shot series, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What’s more, the daily number of people getting the vaccine has been shooting up, going from 235,000 on Dec. 29 to 326,000 on Jan. 2, according to Our World in Data. The U.S. is now well ahead of every other major country in terms of the number of daily vaccinations per capita.

Biden promises that he’ll somehow do better and will have 100 million doses administered by his 100th day in office. By the time Biden takes office, some 10 million doses will already have been delivered.

Keep in mind, too, that what matters most isn’t how many people get the vaccine, but how many of the most vulnerable get it.

The fact is that COVID-19 is almost entirely harmless to the young and healthy. Of the more than 300,000 COVID-related deaths in the U.S., just 8,000 – less than 3% – were among those under age 45, according to the CDC. More than 80% were over 65, and the vast majority of all those who died with COVID also suffered other serious health problems that contributed to their demise. (COVID-19 is listed as the sole cause of death in only 6% of the fatalities attributed to the virus.)

One Trump administration official had it right about Biden’s latest attacks on the pace of vaccine distribution when he said that “talking about the rate of administration at this point is like saying, ‘after opening day, my favorite player is on pace to hit 340 home runs.’ … We are so early in this effort and there is tremendous work being done at all levels to get vaccines to Americans as quickly as possible.” 

Biden launched his presidential campaign promising “no malarky.” But when it comes to the COVID vaccine, that is all he’s delivered.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

2 comments

  • C’mon, Man, cut Creepy some slack. He doesn’t recall what he said 5 minutes ago, let alone something he said months ago.

  • Politics is a game and only those with time on their hands or outsize egos play it on a daily basis. Most of us are too busy scratching a living or laughing at fools on the Beltway Stage, people like Joe Biden, a well known gaffe machine and proven plagiarizer (1988 Neil Kinnock fiasco), who was described by Robert Gates (former CIA Director and secretary of defense) in his memoir as being “wrong on almost every foreign policy and national security issue for four decades”. As the old saying goes – If a politician’s lips are moving, he is lying.

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