News Analysis Jan 21, 2021 6:24 PM EST

CNN falsely claims Trump administration had no vaccine distribution plan in place

CNN either didn't fact check the claim of those anonymous sources in the Biden administration who said there was no distribution plan in place, or simply didn't care to.

CNN falsely claims Trump administration had no vaccine distribution plan in place
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY
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The Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed was so effective that the US currently has two vaccines in production and distribution. The directive for distribution under that program was clear, and state's bore much of the responsibility for getting shots out to their citizens.

Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Distribution Process

Despite this CNN reported, with nary a fact check, that the Trump administration left behind absolutely no plan for rolling out the vaccine they facilitated the creation of.

They write: "... in the immediate hours following Biden being sworn into office on Wednesday, sources with direct knowledge of the new administration's Covid-related work told CNN one of the biggest shocks that the Biden team had to digest during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy under former President Donald Trump, even weeks after multiple vaccines were approved for use in the United States."

The quoted a source, who allegedly said "There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch," and yet another source who "described the moment that it became clear the Biden administration would have to essentially start from 'square one' because there simply was no plan as: 'Wow, just further affirmation of complete incompetence.'"

The Operation Warp Speed Vaccination Distribution Plan addressed prioritization, allocation, and distribution. The Trump administration was largely derided for their pronouncement in spring 2020 that a vaccine would be ready for distribution by year's end. While the administration then touted their hope of having more than 16 million doses in Americans' arms by the beginning of 2021, they were criticized by CNN for not having achieved their goal.

CNN either didn't fact check the claim of those anonymous sources in the Biden administration who said there was no distribution plan in place, or simply didn't care to.

CNN quoted White House COVID coordinator Jeff Zients said that there was a "lack of cooperation" from the Trump administration and that this posed an "impediment" for the Biden team.

"For almost a year now," Zients said, "Americans could not look to the federal government for any strategy, let alone a comprehensive approach to respond to COVID. And we've seen the tragic costs of that failure." He said that Biden would change all that.

The Biden administration may not like the rollout plan, which puts the onus on local governments to get the vaccines where they need to go and counts on each state to know how to best prioritize the rollout for their populations, but that doesn't mean there was no plan in place.

Operation Warp Speed was intent on "leveraging existing networks, processes and partnerships," not remaking every network necessary, or funding that recreation, unnecessarily.

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