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Biden falsely claims that there was no COVID vaccine when he entered office

In a CNN town hall broadcast on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden falsely claimed that the Trump administration did not provide his administration with a vaccine to work with when he entered office on Jan. 20. 

He said, “It’s one thing to have the vaccine, which we didn’t have when we came into office, but a vaccinator, how do you get the vaccine into someone’s arm?” 

“What we did, we got into office and found out the supply, there was no backlog, I mean, there was nothing in the refrigerator, figuratively and literally speaking,” Biden claimed. “And there are 10 million doses a day that were available. We’ve upped that in the first three weeks that we were in office to significantly more than that, we’ve moved out, went to the Pfizer and Moderna and said, can you produce more vaccine and more rapidly? And not only agree to go from 200 to 400, then they agreed to go to 600 million doses.”

“So if the end of April, excuse me, the end of July, they’re available to actually get them in the arms of people who want them that will take what, a couple more months?” asked CNN host Anderson Cooper. 

“Well, no, a lot will be being vaccinated in the meantime. In other words, it’s not all of a sudden 600 million doses are going to appear,” Biden responded. “And what’s going to happen is it’s going to continue to increase as we move along. And we’ll have reached 400 million by the end of May and 600 million by the middle of — by the end of July.”

“It’s one thing to have the vaccine, which we didn’t have when we came into office, but a vaccinator, how do you get the vaccine into someone’s arm?” Biden continued. “So you need the paraphernalia, you need the needle, you need the mechanisms to be able to get it in, you have to have people who can inject it in people’s arms.”

The first dose of the Pfizer vaccine was administered on Dec. 14. followed by the first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 22. A full month before Biden was inaugurated. Biden himself received his first dose of the vaccine on Dec. 21, followed by the second dose on Jan. 11. CNN reported that he received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on camera as part of his administration’s efforts to reassure the country of its safety. 

CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale pounced on conservative criticism of Biden’s remarks, writing: “Biden had said just prior that there were ‘only’ 50 million vaccine doses when he took office. I’m looking into that claim (and a bunch of other claims Biden made tonight), but he clearly wasn’t trying to claim the vaccine did not exist at all under Trump.”

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler responded to former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s claims that Biden had said there was no vaccine when he came into office, referring to it as a “verbal stumble, a typical Biden gaffe.” 

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