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President Biden. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday slammed his predecessor for "not doing his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans."

Driving the news: Biden's remarks at the National Institutes of Health came not long after his administration signed final contracts with Pfizer and Moderna to purchase an additional 200 million doses of the coronavirus vaccines.

What he's saying: "While scientists did their job in discovering vaccines in record time, my predecessor — I’ll be very blunt about it— did not do his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans," Biden said.

  • Former President Trump "didn’t order enough vaccines. He didn’t mobilize enough people to administer the shots. He didn’t set up federal vaccine centers where eligible people could go and get their shots."
  • "When I became president three weeks ago, America had no plan to vaccinate most of the country. It was a big mess."
  • "It’s going to take time to fix, to be blunt with you. I promised, when I did my inaugural address, that I’d always be straight with you — give it to you straight from the shoulder: I will not walk away when we make a mistake; I’ll acknowledge it and tell you the truth."
"We started on day one. We won’t have everything fixed for a while, but we’re going to fix it."
— President Biden

The big picture: More than 34.7 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Biden said that the U.S. is now on track to have enough supply of the vaccine to inoculate 300 million Americans by the end of July.
  • Of note: It's unlikely Thursday's purchase will make the vaccine widely available sooner than originally planned, but it may prevent shortages later this year, per the Washington Post.

Go deeper: Coronavirus infections are plummeting

Go deeper

Coronavirus infections are plummeting

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus cases continued their sharp decline over the past week — progress that could help the U.S. find its way out of the pandemic faster and more safely, if it keeps up.

The big picture: Getting the virus' spread under control is the key to saving lives and reopening schools and businesses. And the tools to achieve that — masks, social distancing and vaccines — are also the most effective weapons against the more contagious variants that could threaten the U.S.' progress.

Jill Biden, Doug Emhoff host series of calls with nurses unions

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

First lady Dr. Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff on Wednesday held a series of phone calls with nurses unions throughout the country to hear about their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Times reports.

What they're saying: Biden and Emhoff told the nurses, who the CDC says are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, that "this administration is fighting for them," according to a spokesperson. But most of their time was spent listening to the nurses' pleas for more protective gear and vaccine doses.

What pregnant people face during COVID-19

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New and expecting mothers are navigating a morass of science and medicine as they try to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 to themselves and their babies.

Why it matters: Pregnancy can be hard during normal times, but there's an extra layer of uncertainty during the pandemic as COVID-19 presents unique risks to pregnant people.