WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Five days into the job, President Joe Biden is trying to deal with the strains of COVID-19 and fix problems with the vaccine’s rollout.
In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Biden Administration is restricting travel from 26 western European countries as well as Ireland, the UK, Brazil and South Africa.
“It took a long time to get here,” Biden said. “It’s going to take a long time to beat it.”
All international travelers, including US citizens, must also show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 3 days of entering the US. This comes amidst worries that the new strains of the virus could be more deadly and the vaccine not as efficient against them.
“Right now, the vaccines seem to be able to work against them,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci. “We need to be prepared to upgrade and maybe even a boost later on, or as a bivalent vaccine.”
The CDC director also announced the federal government isn’t sure how many doses of the vaccine the US actually has available.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said this “speaks to a much larger problem, which is what we’re inheriting from the prior administration — which is much worse than we could have imagined.”
FEMA is now providing assistance to states with the roll out of the vaccine and is advancing plans for federally run vaccination centers.
“We will be in a position within the next 3 weeks or so to be vaccinating until we get to 1.5 million a day,” Biden said.
The White House also said Biden is in ongoing conversations to win support for his $1.9 trillion pandemic stimulus package.