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President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday criticized the Trump administration for "falling behind" on distributing coronavirus vaccines, saying that with "only a few days left in December, we've only vaccinated a few million so far."

The big picture: Biden also pleaded with Americans to wear a mask and take other steps to contain the spread of the coronavirus, reiterating his warning that "things will get worse before they get better."

Context: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN on Tuesday that Operation Warp Speed will not reach its goal of having 20 million Americans receive the coronavirus vaccine by the end of December.

What he's saying: "The Trump administration's plan to distribute vaccines is falling behind. Far behind," Biden said after a briefing from his COVID-19 advisory team.

  • "We're grateful to the companies, the doctors, the scientists, the researchers, the clinical trial participants, and operation warp speed for developing the vaccines quickly. But as I long feared and warned the effort to distribute the vaccine is not progressing as it should," he added.
  • "We need to scale up testing so anyone who needs one can get a test. After ten months of the pandemic, we still don't have enough testing. It's a travesty."
  • Biden said Americans can save thousands of lives "if we just step up together, wear a mask, socially distance, wash our hands, avoid large indoor gatherings."
  • "I know all these are not easy to ask, but I'm asking for you to make a sacrifice. You're already making tremendous sacrifices every single day. It's hard on your lives and your livelihoods and your kids and your families. It's not small what we're asking of you, but we're in this together."
  • “We’re going to get through this, brighter days are coming, but it’s going to take all the grit and determination we have as Americans to get it done.”

Trump defended his administration's vaccine rollout in a tweet later on Tuesday, saying it "is up to the States to distribute the vaccines once brought to the designated areas by the Federal Government."

  • "We have not only developed the vaccines, including putting up money to move the process along quickly, but gotten them to the states."

Go deeper: Biden adviser says he will invoke Defense Production Act to increase vaccine supply

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Podcasts

Vaccine distribution's last mile

The Biden administration has a goal of 100 million coronavirus vaccinations in the first 100 days. That's a big number logistically, but many experts say it isn't enough. The federal government can mandate a vaccine rollout like this, but it's up to the states on how to execute it.

  • Plus, how effective is the vaccine against new variants of the virus?
  • And, historically black colleges’ shifting demographics.
15 hours ago - Health

Bill and Melinda Gates warn of "immunity inequality"

Bill and Melinda Gates at a Goalkeepers event in 2018. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Bill and Melinda Gates warned in their annual letter Wednesday that the lasting legacy of the coronavirus pandemic could be "immunity inequality" — a wide and deadly gap between wealthy people, with easy access to coronavirus vaccines, and everyone else.

Why it matters: As long as there are large swaths of the world that can't get vaccinated, they warned, it will be impossible to get the pandemic under control.

Black residents in Tampa Bay face big COVID vaccine disparities

James Bryant, left, and his wife Eunice register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa earlier this month. Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

Tampa Bay's vaccination rate for Black residents is startlingly low.

By the numbers: Of the 54,725 people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Sarasota-Manatee, only 812 are Black.