A New York Times reporter called out the Biden administration in a news conference for attempting to take credit for the deal between rival pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co. to help manufacture coronavirus vaccines.
“We are now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” President Joe Biden said Tuesday, according to The Blaze.
In addition to the news, Biden took a jab at former President Donald Trump’s vaccine plan. “When we came into office, the prior administration had contracted not nearly enough vaccine to cover adults in America,” he said.
Following the announcement, one reporter promptly corrected Biden’s claim — and hit White House press secretary Jen Psaki with the hard facts.
“On the timing of the administration’s efforts to help pull this deal together — you said that it was within, I think, the last few weeks — is that what you had said?” the White House correspondent for The Times, Michael Shear, asked.
“We wrote our first story in The New York Times about a possible partnership between Merck and J&J for manufacturing on Jan. 21. That was when it published. So, and my understanding was that talks between those companies had been in the works before that even in terms, sort of, the corporate discussions between them. So could you help explain how it is that the Biden administration deserves credit for bringing these two together when it looks like the discussions had been underway long before you guys got here?”
Psaki attempted to make a distinction that because the deal was finalized under the current presidency, it was something worth celebrating.
“Well, just to be clear, I’m talking about when it was finalized so that we could move it forward,” Psaki said.
“Of course, there are conversations between companies, but in terms of getting it to a point — and obviously, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was only approved last weekend, right, and we were waiting on the FDA to make the final approvals of the vaccine — but there’s a difference between conversations and it moving forward,” the press secretary continued.
— Johnson & Johnson (@JNJNews) February 28, 2021
“I’m only conveying what got it across the finish line, and I think it’s clear that that has only happened relatively recently,” Psaki added, according to The Blaze. “But certainly the history of conversations between Merck and J&J, long before the J&J vaccine was even approved, you know, you certainly might have more information on than I do.”
It has been known for a while now that there would be enough vaccines for all Americans by the end of May, and the Biden administration trying to pass that off as an accomplishment specific to the current president is somewhat specious.
Trump yesterday, at CPAC, said for the first time that “everyone” should get the coronavirus vaccine developed while he was in office. An adviser tells me both Trump and Melania Trump got vaccinated at the White House in January.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 1, 2021
The truth, despite the popular leftist narrative, is that the previous administration jump-started the public-private partnership with Operation Warp Speed, and was able to get a vaccine developed in a record amount of time.
Whether or not the distribution process set up by the Trump administration with the states was effective is fair game for criticism, but the Trump team undoubtedly paved the way to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden came into office as the winter surge came to a close and as more Americans got vaccinated, so it is no surprise that his team is trying to bask in the glory.
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