Fauci Is Now Defending Harris’ “Starting From Scratch” False Claims

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"White House Coronavirus Update Briefing" (public domain) by Trump White House Archived

White House Chief Medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci modified his previous statement last week, claiming that the Biden administration is NOT starting from scratch with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Last Sunday, in an interview with Axios, Vice President Kamal Harris claimed that “There was no stockpile … of vaccines.” She also alleged that “there was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations. We were leaving it to the states and 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!”


However, this statement made by Harris is strikingly in contrast with what Dr. Fauci said last month, stating, “We certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution.” This debunked Harris’ claim that the white house is “starting from scratch.”

However, after Harris’ statement last Sunday, Fauci later defended Harris and bashed the Trump administration’s vaccine rollout plan when he was asked about the Vice President’s comments last Tuesday.  

Fauci said, “What I think the vice president is referring to is, the actual plan of getting the vaccine doses into people’s arms was really rather vague. I mean, it was not a well-coordinated plan.” Fauci made this defense despite contradicting the statements he made last month. 

Fauci then explained, “Getting [the] vaccines made, getting them shipped through Operation Warp Speed was OK, but I believe what the vice president is referring to is, ‘What is the process of actually getting these doses into people?'” 

He continued and stated, “That’s something we had to get much better organized, with getting the community vaccine centers, getting the pharmacies involved, getting mobile units involved. So that’s what I believe she was referring to.”

Under the Trump administration, Dr. Fauci, who previously served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, showed a stark different tone compared to last month’s statement he made.

Fauci also added that the current administration is “taking what’s gone on, but amplifying it in a big way.”

He said, “We’re coming in with fresh ideas, but also some ideas that were not bad ideas with the previous administration.” Dr. Fauci added, “We are continuing, but you’re going to see a real ramping up of it.”


However, despite contradicting claims made by Vice President Harris and the White House Chief medical adviser, prominent fact-checkers stayed silent and refrained from challenging Harris’s comments. For instance, Axios, the news outlet where Harris had the interview, un-fact-checked itself as they deleted a tweet containing Fauci’s statement denying that the Biden administration is “starting from scratch” in order to cover up Harris’ statement made in an interview with them last Sunday. 

The claim that the Biden administration is “starting from scratch” surfaced last January, when CNN published a report quoting an anonymous Biden administration official claiming that they would have to “build everything from scratch” and start from “square one” because the Trump administration left no plan to distribute the vaccine. 

However, even left-leaning publications pointed out that despite the Trump administration’s shortcomings, a vaccine distribution plan was in place as a key component of Operation Warp Speed. 

For instance, in that same week when the CNN story was published, over 900,000 vaccine doses were being administered every day under Trump’s Operation Warp Speed plan. This number is as close to Biden’s goal at that time of one million per day. 

Washington Post health reporter Dan Diamond then wrote on Twitter, “Biden advisers keep making this claim to reporters, but the idea they’re starting from scratch’ seems like a gambit to lower expectations.”

“Trump was dangerous on (COVID-19). Many problems to fix. But government officials did set up a system that’s distributed 36 million doses to states.”