The White House backtracked Saturday from its Friday claims that there was no COVID-19 vaccine available in the United States when President Joe Biden took office.
“We previously misstated that vaccines were unavailable in January 2021. We should have said that they were not widely available,” the White House wrote in a Saturday tweet. “Vaccines became available shortly before the President came into office. Since then, he’s responsible for fully vaccinating over 200 million people.”
Earlier, the Biden administration had written in a Friday post on Twitter that when Biden took office, “millions were unemployed and there was no vaccine available.”
“In the last 15 months, the economy has created 8.3M jobs and the unemployment rate stands at 3.6% — the fastest decline in unemployment to start a President’s term ever recorded,” the Biden White House further claimed.
The Biden administration’s initial Twitter post provoked a flurry of online criticism pointing out its inaccuracy: The vaccine was available before Biden took office.
Biden himself got the vaccine before becoming President.
“Today, I received the COVID-19 vaccine. To the scientists and researchers who worked tirelessly to make this possible — thank you. We owe you an awful lot,” Biden wrote in a December 2020 tweet.
“And to the American people — know there is nothing to worry about. When the vaccine is available, I urge you to take it,” Biden wrote.
Today, I received the COVID-19 vaccine.
To the scientists and researchers who worked tirelessly to make this possible — thank you. We owe you an awful lot.
And to the American people — know there is nothing to worry about. When the vaccine is available, I urge you to take it. pic.twitter.com/QBtB620i2V
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 22, 2020
If there was “no vaccine available” as the Biden administration’s Friday tweet had initially claimed, then Biden should not have been able to get the vaccine.
Criticism of the tweet ranged from Twitter posts pointing out inaccuracies in the Biden administration’s initial statement to those pointing out alleged double standards in the way Twitter implements its COVID-19 misinformation policy.
During the first year of the pandemic, Twitter used to slap labels on Republican former President Donald Trump’s Twitter posts on COVID-19 saying the former President’s tweets “violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19.”
Twitter did not post such a label for the Biden administration’s Friday tweet.
“Sorry, not good enough. You spread COVID related misinformation and now must be banned. Isn’t that how it still works?” Republican Virginia House Delegate Nick Freitas tweeted in response to the White House’s Friday post on Twitter.
“I am a health care worker had my vaccine in 12/20 so yes they were available to all the men and women who worked so very hard during the pandemic,” one Twitter user wrote.
The Republican Party’s Deputy Director of Rapid Response Jake Schneider wrote, “Thank you, President Trump! #GreatMAGAKing” in response to the White House’s tweet.
Schneider seemed to be referencing Operation Warp Speed, a Trump administration-initiated public-private partnership that sought to quickly develop, manufacture and distribute vaccines against COVID-19.
Operation Warp Speed helped develop a system that the Biden administration widely depended on for its immunization goals for the country.
Despite the Biden administration’s use of systems developed by the Trump administration, Biden and top Biden administration officials have refused to give or share credit with President Trump, ABC reported.
Several “wins” touted by the Biden administration in the vaccination front of the nation’s fight against the pandemic are directly linked to work done by the Trump administration, the outlet reported.