Kamala Harris said parts of the Trump administration's pandemic response left Biden 'starting from scratch'

  • Vice President Harris slammed the Trump administration’s pandemic response on Sunday.
  • She said that there was “no stockpile” of vaccines when she and President Biden took office.
  • “We’re going to have to work like heck to get it done,” she told “Axios on HBO.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Vice President Kamala Harris said that the Biden administration was left “starting from scratch” in many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic response.

In an interview, Harris told “Axios on HBO” that when she and President Joe Biden arrived in office, officials working for former President Donald Trump left no vaccine stockpile and no national strategy for distribution.

“We were leaving it to the states or 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,” she said.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3Om3or2YwTw

Biden has said similar, telling CBS News on February 7 that when he arrived in office he found the situation was “even more dire” than he had imagined.

“We thought that [the Trump administration] had indicated there was a lot more vaccine available and it didn’t turn out to be the case,” he said.

Insider contacted Trump representatives for comment, but did not immediately receive a reply.

Around 11 months since WHO declared the a pandemic, more than 485,000 Americans have died with the coronavirus, and the country has reported more than 27 million cases. 

Under Trump, vaccines were developed in record time, including several that received support from Operation Warp Speed, the government initiative to accelerate development. 

But the distribution has been less of a success. The Trump administration’s strategy with vaccines was to allow local and state authorities to figure out distribution for themselves.

Read more: Trump just beat his 2nd impeachment conviction, but a massive tsunami of legal peril still awaits

This is in line with the norm that states — not the federal government — are primarily responsible for healthcare. But in the pandemic, this approach has been criticized by public health experts, as Insider’s Hilary Brueck reported. 

By the end of 2020, the Trump administration had vaccinated around 2.8 million people — far short of its stated goal of 20 million.

Asked if the situation was going to affect the administration’s goals, Harris said that the standard has to be “‘Everything is possible,’ but we’re going to have to work like heck to get it done.

“Which means again, no patience for delay, no patience for ‘no’, no patience for ‘it can’t be done.'”

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

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