During an interview aired on Friday’s “PBS NewsHour,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain dismissed “ridiculous” criticisms of the Biden administration for mixed signals on the coronavirus response and who is in charge and argued that “we’ve done our jobs in terms of advancing this COVID response, making the tools available for people to manage the COVID response.” And that “We need the American people to take advantage of” vaccines and boosters.
Host Judy Woodruff asked, “I’m sure you are aware there’s been a lot of commentary, even criticism of the administration for mixed signals on boosters in the last part of last year, and mixed signals, frankly, on who’s in charge when it comes to COVID policy and what the American people should do. How do you answer that?”
Klain responded, “Well, Judy, I think that’s ridiculous. Jeff Zients has been the director of the COVID response since the early days of the transition, and his leadership has been exceptional. We got here, 2% of — less than two million Americans were fully vaccinated. Now, that number’s over 210 million. There were zero, zero at-home tests in America when we took over, zero. Other countries had them. We didn’t have them at all, a year into the pandemic, none of them. We now have hundreds of millions of tests available for people for use at home, available every single month. We’ve made tremendous progress on the booster shots. They were approved here this fall, and almost 90 million Americans now have gotten a booster shot. So, we’ve done our jobs in terms of advancing this COVID response, making the tools available for people to manage the COVID response. We have 75% of adults fully vaccinated. That last 25% needs to get over the finish line. They need to take advantage of the resources we provided that these — again, these free vaccines available within five miles of the homes of 92% of Americans. We’ve made the vaccines available. We’ve made the boosters available. We need the American people to take advantage of them.”
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