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Incoming Biden chief of staff on COVID vaccine rollout: ‘We’re inheriting a huge mess’

President-elect Biden’s incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, said Sunday that his boss was inheriting a “huge mess” from the Trump administration when it comes to the U.S. rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’re inheriting a huge mess here, Jake, but we have a plan to fix it, the president-elect put out that plan on Friday,” Klain told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

Klain said that a $20 billion effort to fight COVID-19 in the U.S. unveiled by the president-elect on Friday would put the U.S. on track to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the incoming Biden administration planned to take steps to increase both the production and distribution of the two COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S.

“We think there are things we can do to speed up the delivery of that vaccine, and make that vaccine supply go farther,” Klain said. “For example, one thing the president-elect mentioned yesterday was using the Defense Production Act to ramp up the production of a particular type of syringes that allow us to get six doses of the vaccine out of a vial instead of five.”

Klain added that despite concerns about the federal government’s reserve of vaccines being depleted, the Biden team currently believes the U.S. is on track to reach “100 million shots in 100 days” following Biden’s inauguration.

Biden labeled the Trump administration’s vaccine rollout a “dismal failure” in a speech Thursday and pledged to focus on both improving the U.S. vaccine distribution infrastructure as well as combatting skepticism towards the vaccine in some communities.

“The vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure thus far,” Biden said Thursday. “This will be one of the most challenging operational efforts we’ve ever undertaken as a nation. We’ll have to move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated.”

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine Donald Trump Jake Tapper Joe Biden Ron Klain
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