- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday defended comments by Vice President Kamala Harris that the Biden administration is “starting from scratch” on COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Ms. Harris said during an “Axios on HBO” episode that aired Sunday that “in many ways we’re starting from scratch on something that’s been raging for almost an entire year.” 

The statement appeared to contradict Dr. Fauci, who has served as a top medical adviser on the White House coronavirus task force during both the Trump and Biden presidencies.

On Jan. 21, one day after Mr. Biden’s inauguration, Dr. Fauci said during a press briefing, “No, I mean, we certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution.”

Dr. Fauci attempted to clarify the vice president’s remarks Tuesday morning on “CNN Newsroom,” saying the Trump administration did not have a well-coordinated plan for getting vaccine doses into people.

“What I think the vice president is referring to is that the actual plan of getting the vaccine doses into people’s arms was really rather vague,” Dr. Fauci said. “I mean it was not a well-coordinated plan.

“Getting the vaccines made, getting them shipped through Operation Warp Speed was OK, but I believe what the vice president was referring to is, what is the process of actually getting these doses into people,” he continued. “That’s something that we had to get much better organized, now with getting the community vaccine centers, getting the pharmacies involved, getting mobile units involved, so that’s what I believe she was referring to.”

Dr. Fauci said the Biden administration “absolutely” has a workable plan to get people vaccinated, but that the critical issue at the moment is that the “demand far outweighs the supply.”

“We need more doses,” he said. “We have a good plan [for] how to get the doses into people’s arms, we just need more vaccine.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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