Members of President Joe Biden’s team told CNN that the Trump administration had no plans for coronavirus vaccine distribution, leaving them to start from “scratch.”
Sources told the network that “one of the biggest shocks” Biden’s team has encountered is the “complete lack vaccine distribution strategy” weeks after the vaccines were approved.
"There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch," one source told CNN.
"Wow, just further affirmation of complete incompetence,” another source said, adding that the Biden administration would effectively have to start from “square one.”
Biden begins with focus on pandemic:
Biden has made the national response to the pandemic a key part of his administration’s rollout, signing an executive order to impose a mask mandate on all federal property and vowing to administer 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days.
The “lack of cooperation” from the Trump administration posed an “impediment” to Biden’s transition team, according to White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients.
"For almost a year now, Americans could not look to the federal government for any strategy, let alone a comprehensive approach to respond to Covid," he said. "And we've seen the tragic costs of that failure. As President Biden steps into office today ... that'll change tomorrow."
Biden to sign coronavirus orders:
Biden also plans to sign 10 executive orders related to the pandemic, including one that aims to expand the number of vaccination sites by creating federal community vaccination centers staffed by thousands of additional workers and the military.
Biden also plans to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost vaccine supply, lower the recommended age for the current wave of vaccines from 75 to 65, and require masks at airports and other travel hubs. International travelers will also be required to test negative for the virus before coming to the US.
Biden will also sign a memorandum helping to fund schools’ efforts to reopen using money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and will instruct his administration to draft new reopening guidelines.