Why Did Biden Say 'We Didn't Have' a COVID-19 Vaccine When He Took Office?

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

During his CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper Tuesday evening, Joe Biden claimed that “we didn’t have” a vaccine for COVID-19 when he took office.


“It’s one thing about 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? You need the needle, you need the mechanisms to be able to get it in,” Biden said. “Now, we have made significant strides increasing the number of vaccinators.”

The claim was made after he’d previously said that “50 million doses that were available” when he took office, leading many to call it a gaffe. “It was a verbal stumble, a typical Biden gaffe, as he had already mentioned 50 million doses being available when he took office,” Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler said on Twitter. “Ex Trump officials should especially cool the outrage meter, as it just looks silly.”

But was it really a gaffe, or part of the Biden administration’s overall efforts to mislead the public?

Keep in mind that Joe Biden received his two doses before taking office. So, it’s a pretty big mistake to claim that there was no vaccine when he had actually received it. During the first week of the Biden administration, after being unable to answer questions about how many doses of the vaccine were available, Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki blamed the Trump administration, falsely claiming the problems they had were inherited from the Trump administration and that it was “much worse than we could have imagined.” The next day, Joe Biden also claimed that the vaccine distribution left by the Trump administration was “in worse shape than we anticipated or expected.”


Kamala Harris has also repeatedly claimed that there was no vaccine distribution plan provided by the Trump administration. The day before Biden’s town hall she claimed there was no stockpile of COVID vaccines, and told Mike Allen of Axios that there was “no national strategy or plan for vaccinations, we were leaving it to the states and local leaders to try and figure it out. And so in many ways, we are starting from scratch on something that’s been raging for almost an entire year.” Even Dr. Fauci had to step forward to dismiss her claim.

By the end of January, nearly 50 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been distributed, but the Biden administration didn’t know where 20 million doses had gone.

There has been a concerted effort by the Biden administration to create a narrative that they inherited a mess of a vaccine distribution plan from the Trump administration. So, while Joe Biden has been prone to verbal gaffes—and we’ve covered those extensively at PJ Media—Biden’s remark seems more like part of that effort to make his administration look like COVID-19 saviors in the wake of the incredibly successful Operation Warp Speed, which produced at least two effective vaccines faster than anyone thought possible.


Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trumpand the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter, GabFacebookMeWeHeroesRumble, and CloutHub.

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