Jen Psaki Spins Biden’s ‘1 Million Shots Per Day’ Pledge as ‘Bold Goal’ Even After Reporter Notes U.S. Already Hitting That Mark


White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki started off her first full day by ducking the growing questions about the Biden’s administration’s vaccine rollout goal, and whether it is ambitious enough to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

Near the end of Psaki’s Thursday press conference, Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller revisited a question that he had put to the president himself barely an hour earlier in the Oval Office. Noting that Biden’s goal of averaging one million Covid-19 daily doses for the first 100 days would essentially be self-fulfilling based on the current rate of vaccine administration, Miller pressed: “Shouldn’t we set the bar higher? That’s basically where the U.S. is right now.”

To which Biden brushed off the reporter’s skepticism, in an exasperated reply: “When I announced it you all said it’s not possible,” he said. “Come on, give me a break, man. It’s a good start, 100 million.”

As of Thursday morning, the CDC Covid data tracker site reported 17.5 million vaccine doses had been administered since mid-December. Relatedly, one vaccine tracker found that the initial, sluggish pace of vaccine shots had picked up and had averaged 912,000 per day last week, and hit 1.6 million as of Wednesday.

“I wanted to follow up about the 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days. That’s roughly, per diem basis, of where the vaccinations are right now,” Miller reiterated, mentioning the 1.6 million rate from Wednesday. “Why isn’t the president shooting just a little bit higher given the magnitude of the crisis here?”

“None of us are mathematicians so I asked our team to do a little math on this,” Psaki replied, before engaging in some misleading statistical spin. “The Trump administration was given 36 million doses when they were in office for 38 days. They administered a total of about 17 million shots. That’s about less than 500,000 shots a day. What we are proposing is to double that to about 1 million shots per day.”

Psaki, however, was deceptively comparing the Biden administration’s daily goal to an average of the Trump administration’s vaccine rollout start-up, and ignoring the current rate.

“We have outlined this goal and objective in coordination and consultation with our health and medical experts, so it is ambitious,” she added. “It’s something that we feel is bold and was called that certainly at the time. And we’re working overtime to help to achieve it, try to achieve it.”

Miller then pushed to see if the White House might increase its goal in the near future. Of note: if Biden kept to the goal and hit that mark, that would result in roughly 118 million doses — or just 59 million full vaccinations — administered by mid-April, or only about one-sixth of the entire nation’s population.

“There are a lot of factors that go into determining how many shots can get into the arms of Americans. We feel confident we can achieve this goal,” Psaki answered. “Obviously, there are other vaccines that are being considered at this point in time by the FDA. There is funding that will be needed for distribution. There are a number of steps that will help expedite at some point in time, but right now, our focus is on what many health and medical experts have consistently called a bold goal.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

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