Covid crickets: Reporters ask zero pandemic questions after Biden kicks off presser by touting doubling of vaccination target
President Joe Biden doubled the Covid-19 vaccination goal for his first 100 days in office, saying he aims to have 200 million Americans inoculated by April 30. Reporters chose not to ask him anything pandemic-related thereafter.
“I know it’s ambitious, twice our original goal,” Biden told reporters on Thursday, at his first formal press conference since taking office in January.
No other country in the world has even come close to what we’re doing.
It took Biden’s administration until March 19 to reach his goal of 100 million Covid-19 vaccination jabs, 42 days ahead of the target that he set as president-elect last December. More than 133 million doses had been delivered as of Thursday, according to CDC data, including about 20 million that were done before former president Donald Trump left office.
Trump helped fast-track development and emergency authorization for Covid-19 vaccines to help end the pandemic, allowing the US to start its inoculations in December. With three different vaccines now approved and in distribution, more than 2 million shots are being given daily, putting the nation on pace to have inoculations available for every adult by the end of May.
Biden said he also expects to meet his goal of having most US schools from kindergarten through eighth grade reopened full-time by his 100-day target. White House press secretary Jen Psaki last month told reporters that the goal was to have half of schools open for some classes at least one day a week, a status that was reached even before Biden took office. The president clarified the goal on Thursday, saying he meant full-time, in-person learning.
While journalists apparently found no questions to ask about the pandemic response on Thursday, some of Biden’s Democratic pals offered him friendly suggestions ahead of the presser.
Ex-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of state in the Obama-Biden administration, said on Monday that rather than focusing entirely on getting Americans inoculated, Biden should give more Covid-19 vaccines to poor countries. She complained that Russia and China had jumped ahead of the Biden administration in terms of “vaccine diplomacy.”
“This is the kind of leadership that the United States has historically been known for, which frankly, we should be lifting up and doing more of,” Clinton said. “And what I’m intrigued by, and a little saddened by, is the way both China and Russia are pushing their vaccines.”
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Biden’s administration last week agreed to lend millions of its doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to Mexico and Canada. The jab isn’t yet approved for use in the US, but the country had 7 million doses stockpiled. Washington will lend 2.5 million doses to Mexico and 1.5 million to Canada.
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