Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Biden promises to speed up coronavirus vaccine production

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday criticized the Trump administration's plan for distributing coronavirus vaccines, saying if doses are administered at their current rate, "it will take years, not months, to vaccinate the American people."

Federal officials had vowed that 20 million people would be vaccinated by the end of this year, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only about 2.1 million Americans have so far received their initial vaccine dose. "As I long feared and warned, the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should," Biden said.

The vaccine shows that "brighter days are coming," Biden stated, but with coronavirus cases surging and more than 334,000 Americans dead, this isn't a jubilant time. "We need to be honest: The next few weeks and months are going to be very tough, a very tough period for our nation — maybe the toughest during this entire pandemic," Biden said. "I know it's hard to hear, but it's the truth."

Biden promised that once he is in office, he will invoke the Defense Production Act so companies can ramp up production of personal protective equipment and vaccine-related materials. In his first 100 days, he will push to distribute 100 million vaccine doses and work to reopen most K-8 schools, but Biden said for this to happen, Congress needs to approve additional funding for increased testing, cleaning, and new ventilation systems.