"When I took office three weeks ago, this country did not have a plan," Biden said.
With demand for the vaccine far outstripping supply, Americans are struggling to get appointments for their inoculations, leaving Biden with an acute problem less than a month after taking over from Trump.
Biden said the vaccine program he inherited was in "much worse shape" than he had anticipated and that his team had been misled about the vaccine supply.
JOE BIDEN: And we need more people to get vaccinated to beat this pandemic. That's why, in the first three weeks that I've been in office, we've increased the supply of weekly vaccine shipments to the states by almost 30%. That means millions more Americans will get vaccinated in February than the previous administration was on track to do.
But that's just the start. We bought more vaccines. Two weeks ago, I directed Jeff Zients, who's here with me-- my COVID-19 response coordinator-- to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to purchase more vaccines. Just this afternoon, we signed the final contracts for 100 million more Moderna and 100 million more Pfizer vaccines and we're also able to move up the delivery dates with an additional 200 million vaccines to the end of July, faster than we expected.
And then further good news, both companies agreed-- and we're now contractually obligated-- to expedite delivery of 100 million doses that were promised by the end of June to deliver them by the end of May. That's a month faster. That means lives will be saved. That means we're now on track to have enough supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July.
It may not sound like the urgent progress we need, but let's be clear. When I took office just three weeks ago, this country did not have a plan or enough vaccines or people to vaccinate Americans, any at-- all Americans, any time, at any point in 2021. Within three weeks, around the clock work with so many people, people standing behind me and in front of me, we've now purchased enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all Americans, and now we're working to get those vaccines into the arms of millions of people.