President-elect Joe Biden said he will use the Defense Production Act to boost manufacturing of coronavirus vaccines and set up “thousands” of community vaccination sites as he aims to administer 100 million shots within his first 100 days in office.
“This is a time to set big goals and pursue them with courage and conviction, because the health of the nation is literally at stake,” Biden said in Wilmington, Delaware, five days before his inauguration, adding, “You have my word — we will manage the hell out of this operation.”
Calling the nation’s vaccine rollout “a dismal failure thus far,” Biden said he would marshal the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard to launch and staff new vaccination sites and pledged to have 100 of the federally supported centers across the nation by the end of his first month in office.
Amid a “rigid and confusing” vaccine rollout, Biden said he would call on states to expand eligibility to more essential workers, including teachers and grocery store employees, and those ages 65 and older, when enough shots are available. He also plans to make vaccines more available to those in high-risk congregate settings — including jails.
The president-elect also said he will use the Defense Production Act to “maximize the manufacture” of vaccines and vowed to work more closely with states on their distribution efforts.
Biden rolled out his vaccination plan a day after announced his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, which includes $400 billion for directly fighting the pandemic.
His vaccine proposal includes launching mobile vaccination clinics, expanding access to vaccines through chain and local pharmacies and launch a “massive public education campaign” to combat “vaccine hesitancy” and build trust, particularly in Black, Latino and Native American communities.
Biden said he’ll issue an executive order requiring masks “where I have the authority to do that” — and again said he’ll call on Americans to “mask up for the next 100 days” upon taking office.
The president-elect said it’s a “stupid, stupid thing” that mask wearing has become politicized and lambasted lawmakers who refused to wear masks during last week’s U.S. Capitol lockdown.
“What the hell’s the matter with you?” Biden said, noting that several legislators have since tested positive. “It’s time to grow up.”
Biden on Friday also named Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute, as White House science advisor.
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