Biden criticises pace of vaccine rollout, vows to accelerate

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden criticised the Trump administration on Tuesday for the pace of distributing COVID-19 vaccines and predicted that “things will get worse before they get better” when it comes to the pandemic.

“We need to be honest — the next few weeks and months are going to be very tough, very tough for our nation. Maybe the toughest during this entire pandemic,” Biden said during remarks in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday.

His comments come as the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 336,000 Americans, with experts warning holiday travel and gatherings could precipitate yet another spike in virus cases even as the virus has already been surging in states nationwide.

Biden encouraged Americans to “steel our spines” for challenges to come and predicted that “things are going to get worse before they get better”.

He also went after the Trump administration over its vaccination efforts, warning that the project, dubbed Operation Warp Speed, is moving at a slower pace than needed. “As I long feared and warned the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should,” he said.

Earlier this month, Trump administration officials said they planned to have 20 million doses of the vaccine distributed by the end of the year. But according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control, just over 11.4 million doses have been distributed and only 2.1 million people have received their first dose.

At the current pace, Biden said, “it’s gonna take years, not months, to vaccinate the  American people.”

US President Donald Trump deflected Biden’s critique. “It is up to the States to distribute the vaccines once brought to the designated areas by the Federal Government,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “We have not only developed the vaccines, including putting up money to move the process along quickly, but gotten them to the states.”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a statement late Tuesday saying, “While partisan critics offer nothing but empty rhetoric to frighten Americans for political ends, President Trump delivers results.”