Fact Check: Joe Biden Repeats False Claim of Vaccine 'Turnaround'
CLAIM: Vaccination levels, particularly among seniors, are “a dramatic turnaround from where we were in January.”
VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE. If there is any “turnaround,” it is negative — and the Biden administration shares the blame.
President Joe Biden addressed the nation Tuesday to describe his administration’s plans to encourage people who haven’t yet received the coronavirus vaccine to do so. He claimed: “70% of the seniors are now fully vaccinated. It is a dramatic turnaround from where we were in January, when less than 2% of adults, and less than 1% of seniors, were fully vaccinated.”
The fact that vaccination rates have risen among seniors is not a “turnaround.” It is the continuation of a trend that began in December, when the Trump administration began rolling out the vaccine. Biden has made this claim before, falsely stating in April that his administration “turned around a slow-moving vaccination program.” The pace of vaccination had not changed.
Recently, there has been a “turnaround” — but not in a positive direction. Starting in mid-April, the vaccination rate fell:
💉VACCINE DATA UPDATE (May 3)💉
📊1.19M doses today; 7-day avg=2.29M/day
🇺🇸US: 247M doses total
☝️We're a couple weeks post the U.S. opening vaccination to all/working through the "eager" group
— Drew Armstrong (@ArmstrongDrew) May 3, 2021
That is partly because the people most eager to be vaccinated have already received their shots. However, it is also because the Biden administration decided to suspend the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — the one-shot alternative, widely available at pharmacies and through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sites — over a few rare cases of blood clots.
The Biden administration later decided to allow the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with a warning. But the damage was done:
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) May 3, 2021
So if there was any “turnaround,” it was not Biden improving the vaccine program Trump left him, but hurting the rollout.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.