Claiming that he was not seeking to lower expectations, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday said President Joe Biden’s goal of 100 million vaccinations against COVID-19 in the first 100 days of his administration was not really intended to vaccinate 100 million people.
Even when Fauci said it was.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases appeared on the CBS show “Face the Nation,” where he was interviewed by Margaret Brennan.
Fauci’s comments were different from those he made Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” where he talked up Biden’s plan to vaccinate 100 million people.
“As you know, his goal is to get 100 million people vaccinated within the first 100 days of his presidency. I mean, I feel fairly confident that that’s going to be not only that, but maybe even better,” Fauci said last week on ABC.
He made a similar statement in an earlier appearance on CBS, declaring the Biden administration’s “entirely achievable” goal was “to have 100 million people vaccinated in the first 100 days, primary and boost.”
Brennan asked him about that Sunday.
“So let me clarify that because there was a little bit of a misunderstanding,” Fauci said.
“What we’re talking about is 100 million shots in individuals. So, a shots — as, in other words, when you get down to, let’s say, a certain part of the 100 days, at the end of 100 days, you’re going to have some people who will have gotten both shots and some will still be on their first shots. What the president is saying 100 million shots in the arms of people within 100 days,” he said.
Brennan said that based on what she has heard from Biden’s transition team “that’s more like 67 million people by April.”
Noting he had not done the math, Fauci said, “it sounds very much like the accurate number where you’re having people who will have gotten two doses and then some that are still on their first dose. When you add them all up and you look at shots, it’s 100 million shots in the arms of people within the first 100 days.”
Recent reports have put the current vaccination rate at over 900,000 shots per day, with Bloomberg reporting that last week’s average per day was 983,000 shots per day.
That left some wondering if Biden was simply trying to do what former President Donald Trump already accomplished.
“America is already on track for 100 million in 100 days,” Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana tweeted Thursday. “Biden could do 200 million in 100 days. Republicans would support it. Thanks to Trump, he’s already halfway there.”
Biden wants you to believe “100 million vaccines in 100 days” is his plan.
But it’s not. It was Trump’s.
America is already on track for 100 million in 100 days.
Biden could do 200 million in 100 days. Republicans would support it. Thanks to Trump, he’s already halfway there.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) January 21, 2021
Even the Washington Post admits Biden’s vaccine goal is the same as Trump’s—and that Biden inherited a program on track to meet that goal.
Yet the White House is trying to convince you Trump left nothing—so Biden can take credit for Trump’s work.
Don’t be fooled. pic.twitter.com/l2caoHLCcq
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) January 24, 2021
Brennan asked Fauci if he was trying to lower expectations for Biden.
“No, no, that’s not the case. If you go back and look at the facts of actually what had been done in the first, like, 38 days, I believe that in the former administration, I think maybe two out of those days had reached 100 million,” he said, apparently referring to the goal of 1 million per day. “And the average along that period of time was about 450,000 per day.
“This is hard. Now what we’ve got to realize that although more recently there have been a couple of days where you’ve had a million, that has been predominantly in areas that are relatively easy from the standpoint of getting it done, in a nursing home or in a situation in a hospital setting.
“If you look forward with the challenges that we’ll be having getting it out into the community that is not easily accessible, getting it to people that are not uniform in the sense of being health care providers or people in nursing homes, I still think that that challenge is really, first of all, it’s going to be a floor, not a ceiling.”
Fauci said just because nearly 1 million vaccinations a day have been given does not mean that rate can continue.
“It’s not going to be easy to do that. I think there is this misperception out there, Margaret, because we’ve hit 1 million a day for a couple of days, that when we get out into the community, it’s going to be really easy to do that. That’s not the case.
“It is going to be a challenge. I think it was a reasonable goal that was set. We always want to do better than the goal you’ve set, but it is really a floor and not a ceiling.”
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