White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said on Thursday that the Biden administration is trying to build a centralized national resource to help turn the disparate state and county coronavirus vaccine strategies the new administration inherited into a “federally led effort.”
WH Chief of Staff Ron Klain said late Thursday the Biden administration is working to establish "that one national clearinghouse" that can help turn the disparate state and county COVID vaccine strategies they've inherited into a "federally-led effort." pic.twitter.com/DPrvrO4ZEt
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) January 22, 2021
“Right now we’re inheriting a strategy that relied on 50 different approaches and many county approaches,” Klain said. “What we’re doing is we’re taking it over and making it a federally led effort.”
Klain laid out the administration’s plan to open 100 federal vaccination centers by the end of February, in addition to offering mobile and commercial vaccination centers to speed up inoculation.
The comments come after a CNN report on Thursday revealed that the Trump administration had not provided a federal plan for vaccine distribution and that Biden’s team would “have to build everything from scratch.”
Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield tried to rebuff those claims, saying he was glad to have given Biden “a foundation to build on.”
On Wednesday, in response to concerns over vaccine shortages, Biden’s coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said that the incoming administration had been given little “visibility” into the state of the vaccination effort.
“We don’t have the visibility that we would hope to have into supply and allocations,” Zeints said during a briefing.
The Trump administration failed to make good on its promise to distribute 20 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020, and per the CDC had only administered roughly 16.5 million vaccine doses when Trump left office on Jan. 20, a far cry from its pledge in what will likely be the largest vaccine program in the nation’s history.
Klain said that the administration’s immediate goal will be to quickly get vaccines into the arms of Americans — keeping a pace of roughly 1 million vaccinations daily to reach the administration’s goal of 100 million vaccine shots in Biden’s first 100 days in office.