President Biden’s “wartime effort” goal to vaccinate 100 million people against COVID-19 in 100 days relies on a daily average that was repeatedly bested under former President Donald Trump.
Biden’s first full day in office on Thursday saw 1.3 million Americans inoculated against the deadly coronavirus, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.
But the same figures show that 1.3 million shots were administered on Jan. 11 and that 1.1 million were given both Jan. 14 and 16.
Vaccinations also hit a record-high, 1.6 million on Wednesday, when Biden was sworn into office, according to the data.
Since his inauguration Wednesday, the new commander in chief and his top spokesperson have repeatedly been pressed by reporters on whether he’s setting his immunization target too low.
Press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a news conference at the White House on Jan. 22, 2021. Sipa USA
During a Friday news conference at the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki was reminded that before Trump left office, the past-week average number of vaccinations was 912,497 — just shy of Biden’s goal.
“Given the urgent need for vaccinations, why not aim higher?” a reporter asked.
Psaki referred back to the vaccination plan that Biden announced early last month, when he vowed it would be the “most efficient” in American history.
“We set that goal before any American had received a single shot,” Psaki said.
“So the incoming Biden administration felt it was important to set what was described as a bold and ambitious goal at the time, and many doubted we could even get there.”
The response largely echoed the words of her boss, who on Thursday evening growled at a White House reporter who questioned if his plan was ambitious enough.
“That’s basically where the US is right now,” the reporter noted as Biden wrapped up a briefing at which he warned it would take months to get the majority of Americans inoculated.
“When I announced it, you all said it’s not possible,” Biden snapped. “Come on, gimme a break, man! It’s a good start.”
At her Friday briefing, Psaki also said the new administration was still trying to find its “sea legs” and blamed operational challenges on the outgoing Trump administration.
“We want to set our own markers and markers for the American public so that they know we’re meeting our goal. If we surpass that, that’s great,” she said of the 100-day target.
So far, 37.9 million shots of the newly approved miracle jabs have been distributed nationwide, but only 17.5 million have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Thursday, Biden released a sweeping plan that he described as a “full-scale wartime effort” to beat the pandemic by invoking the Defense Production Act to surge vaccine production and establishing federally funded vaccination sites across the country.
Many states are still crying out for doses of the miracle drug. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have both warned that their cupboards will be bare by Friday.