Biden wants faster vaccination effort
President-elect Joe Biden discusses the coronavirus pandemic.
soon. Vice President Harris and I just received a briefing on the cova 19 by our team of experts. And as we end one of most difficult years as a nation, I remain optimistic about our future. Vaccines have been discovered and developed. There's more to come, we believe, give us enormous hope. Our economy is poised to come back and come alive, and I can see a return to normalcy in the next year. I also see incredible opportunities for our nation in the region in the years ahead in job creation, clean energy, racial equality and much more. But we need to be honest the next few weeks and months. We're going to be very tough, very tough period for our nation, maybe the toughest during this entire pandemic. I know it's hard to hear, but it's the truth. As Roosevelt said, I think the American people could take whatever we tell them if we tell them straight from the shoulder. We need to steal our spines for what's ahead, need to follow you more closely. The recommendations to slow the spread of the virus and each of us needs to do we can to protect ourselves, our families and our fellow Americans we're gonna get through this brighter days are coming, but it's gonna take all the grit determination we have as Americans to get it done. So today I want to be clear about five things every American should know about our efforts to contain Covert 19 and where the vaccine stands today. First things were going to get worse before they get better. In September, we passed a grim milestone 200,000 deaths at that time in this very room. Many remember I warned that we hit 400,000 deaths before the end of the Trump Administration in January. Critics said I was being too alarmist and negative. But as I've said all along, I will tell you like it ISS when it comes to covert And the reality is, it looks like that we're gonna hit that grim milestone. We've just crossed 330,000 deaths in America. We're averaging daily death rates of nearly 2200 people, which means we'll lose tens of thousands of more lives in the months to come. Hospitals are being stretched beyond capacity, and that's data before we see the impact of the case is coming from the recent holidays and this upcoming holiday of New Year's Eve. People getting infected today don't show up in cases for weeks, and those who persist our should be. Those who parachuted disease die weeks after initial explosion. So we have to anticipate that the infections over the holidays will produce soaring cases counts in January and soaring death tolls in the February. You know, turning this around is gonna take time. We might not see improvement until we're well into march, as will take time for our covert response plan to begin to produce visible progress. The second thing to know. So Trump administration's plan to distribute vaccines is falling behind far behind. We're grateful to the company's the doctors, the scientists, the researchers, the clinical trial participants and operation warp speed for developing the vaccines quickly. But as I long feared and Warren, the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should. A few weeks ago, Trump administration suggests that 20 million Americans could be vaccinated by the end of December. With only a few days left in December, we've only vaccinated a few million so far on the face of vaccine. The vaccination program is moving now as if you continue to movie. There's now it's going to take years, not months, to vaccinate the American people. Which brings me to the third thing every American should know. The Biden Harris administration will spare no effort to make sure people get vaccinated. I've laid out three challenges in our 1st 100 days. One of them is ensuring that 100 million shots have been administered by the end of the 1st 100 days. Congress provides the funding. We'd be able to meet this incredible goal. It would take ramping up 5 to 6 times the current pace to one million shots today. But even with that improvement, even if we boost the speed of vaccinations to one million shots a day, it will still take months to have the majority of the United States population vaccinated. I've directed my team to repairs much more aggressive, much more aggressive effort, with more federal involvement and leadership. To get things back on track, we'll find ways to boost the pace, the vaccinations. But his doctor, Fauci and others have stated these past few days this will take more time than anyone would like and more time than the promises from the Trump administration have suggested. This is going to be. The greatest operational challenge we've ever faced is a nation, but we're going to get it done. It's going to take a vast new effort. It's not yet underway and to get things and, you know, and that gets me to the fourth thing that we should know, I'm gonna move heaven and earth to get us going in the right direction. I'm going to use my power under the Defense Production Act when I'm sworn in. In order on order private industry to accelerate the making of the materials needed for the vaccines as well as protective gear. Vice President Harris and I have been speaking to with county officials, mayors, governors of both parties to speed up the distribution of the vaccines across the nation. We're planning a whole of government effort. I'm gonna work to set up vaccination sites and send mobile units toe hard reached communities. It's hard to reach communities and we also know there's a vaccination hasn't seen many communities, especially black Latino Native American communities who have not always been treated with dignity and honesty to deserve by the federal government and the scientific community throughout our history. That's why we will launch a massive public education education campaign to increase vaccine acceptance. We'll do everything we can to show vaccines are safe and critically important for one's own health and that of their families and the communities. That means we're also going to make sure vaccines are distributed equitably. So every person who wants the vaccine can get it, no matter the color of their skin or where they live, we're going to ensure vaccinations are free of charge. Fifth, all the pandemic rages on, and as we increase the supply, distribution and an administration of the vaccine, we have to remain vigilant as part of the 100 day challenge. I'm going to be asking the American people toe, wear a mask for the 1st 100 days of my administration. It's not a political statement. It's a patriotic duty. Our administration. We can require mask wearing where I have the power to do so for federal workers in federal facilities, on interstate travel, like planes and trains, and we've been working directly with county officials, mayors, governors to implement mask mandates in their cities and their towns and their states. Masking has been a divisive issue in this country, but Cove it is a killer in red states and blue states alike. So I encourage you all toe wear a mask, encourage your family and friends to do the same. It's one of the easiest things we can do that will make a huge difference in to save lives. Another 100 day challenges opening most of our K through eight schools by the end of the 1st 100 days in the spring. Look, we can only do that if Congress provides the necessary funding. So we get schools, district communities and states. The resource is they need for those so many things that aren't there already in a tight budget, they need funding for testing to help reopen schools. More funding for transportation so students can maintain social distances on Busses they needed for school buildings for additional cleaning service protective equipment, ventilation systems. This is going to require an additional of tens of billions of dollars to get this done, and Congress also needs to fund and provide more protective equipment for frontline health workers who are still reusing masking gowns. We need to scale up testing. So anyone who needs one can get a test. After 10 months of the pandemic, we still don't have enough testing. It's a travesty. All this vaccination is testing. Protective gear is going to require more funding from Congress, more than was just approved. That's why I propose a covert action package early next year and challenged Congress to act on it quickly. Look, my ability to change the direction of this pandemic starts in three weeks. Well, thousands dying every day between now and then, let me conclude by discussing what needs to happen now. I congratulate the bipartisan majority. I'm passing the president's Onda president, signing the covert relief. It's still, and there is a step in important steps still moves in the right direction, and it will help people in need. And I'll it will pay for some, but not all of what we need to fix the covert response. It's a down payment, but now, with that done, I hope the president we're also clearly unambiguously promote mask wearing. I give former governor Chris Christie credit. He and I have disagreed on a number of things, but I'm thankful he's now encouraging people do the right thing and wear mask for themselves, their loved ones in their country. I hope the president Trump will listen to him. He can do it, too. Would make a huge difference for President Trump to say where. Masks. I hope the president will clearly and unambiguously urge all Americans to take the vaccine once it's available. I took it to instill public confidence in the vaccine President elect Harris took. It occurs today for the same reason. And when the president's doctors recommended President Trump should take it, and it's still the same degree of confidence. Let me also say this the American people we can save all the experts tell us between 60 and 100,000 lives in the weeks months ahead. If we just step up together, wear a mask socially distance, wash our hands, avoid large indoor gatherings. I know all these were not easy to ask, but I'm asking to you to make a sacrifice. You're already making tremendous sacrifices every single day. It's hard on your lives, on your livelihood and your kids on your families. It's not small what we're asking him, but we're in this together and the actions we take now we're going to help us contain the pandemic and get us back to our lives and to our loved ones. So the American people toe all of you. I know there's a lot that we have to do, but I want you to know there's also much we can do with the United States of America. We've been through hard times before as a nation, and we'll come through this a swell. I promise you. So, please, I wish you a happy New Year. May God bless you. And may God protect our troops. Where? A mask? Yeah, I think it's gonna come. Yeah.