News White House chief slams Trump vaccine plan
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White House chief slams Trump vaccine plan

US President Joe Biden's chief of staff says the Trump administration had no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Getty
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US President Joe Biden’s chief of staff has revealed there was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office.

Ron Klain told NBC on Monday (AEDT) a proper process to deliver the vaccine “did not really exist”.

“The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House,” Mr Klain said.

Vaccination programs lagged far behind the Trump administration’s target of 20 million Americans inoculated by the end of 2020.

“We’ve seen this factor all over the country where millions of doses have been distributed, but only about half have been given out,” Mr Klain said.

“So the process of getting that vaccine into arms – that’s the hard process. That’s where we’re behind as a country. That’s where we’re focused in the Biden administration – on getting that ramped up.”

Mr Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the US under Mr Trump’s watch.

He signed a series of executive orders last week, including some that target vaccine distribution.

Mr Biden plans to partner with state and local governments to establish vaccination spots in conference centres, stadiums and gyms.

The new administration will also deploy thousands of clinical staff from federal agencies, military medical personnel and pharmacy chains to increase vaccinations, and make teachers and grocery clerks eligible.

Fauci says vaccination goal will be difficult despite having capacity

Meanwhile, top American infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said Mr Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccinations actually means about 67 million Americans should be protected from COVID-19 during that time, the Associated Press reported.

Dr Fauci said the President’s goal referred to 100 million shots, not people, AP said.

Current vaccines require two shots.

Dr Fauci maintained that goal could be difficult to meet even though the US recently has been able to administer shots to about a million people a day. He said it will be harder to reach people once shots are given outside hospital and nursing home settings.

Dr Fauci also told CBS news program Face the Nation he supported a national commission to understand some of the problems in coordinating a COVID-19 response on the state and local level because states shouldn’t just be told, “You’re on your own.”

-with agencies