‘We certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution’ Fauci said Jan. 21
White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci reversed his previous rejection Tuesday of claims that the Biden administration was “starting from scratch” with the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.
On Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris revived the claim during an interview with Axios.
“There was no stockpile … of vaccines,” Harris told Axios co-founder Mike Allen. “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’re starting from scratch on something that’s been raging for almost an entire year!”
Despite contradicting his own remarks from last month, Fauci not only defended the vice president but also knocked the Trump administration’s vaccine rollout when he was asked about her comments on Tuesday.
“What I think the vice president is referring to is, the actual plan of getting the vaccine doses into people’s arms was really rather vague. I mean, it was not a well-coordinated plan.” Fauci told CNN.
“Getting [the] vaccines made, getting them shipped through Operation Warp Speed was OK, but I believe what the vice president is referring to is, ‘What is the process of actually getting these doses into people?'” Fauci explained. “That’s something we had to get much better organized, with getting the community vaccine centers, getting the pharmacies involved, getting mobile units involved. So that’s what I believe she was referring to.”
Fauci, who previously served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force under President Trump, struck a drastically different tone last month after CNN cited anonymous Biden officials who alleged that the new administration was “starting from scratch” with the vaccine rollout.
“We certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution,” Fauci firmly said during a White House press briefing Jan. 21.
While famed fact-checkers at The Washington Post and CNN have refrained from challenging Harris’ comments, Axios itself appeared to un-fact-check a tweet that was removed after it juxtaposed the vice president’s comments to Fauci’s.
Axios also did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @JosephWulfsohn.