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Fox & Friends Blames States For Trump’s Botched Vaccine Rollout

The Trump administration has botched and sabotaged the COVID vaccine rollout just like it botched and sabotaged everything else about the pandemic. But on Fox News, the failures are never Dear Leader’s fault.
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The Trump administration has botched and sabotaged the COVID vaccine rollout just like it botched and sabotaged everything else about the pandemic. But on Fox News, the failures are never Dear Leader’s fault.

From the start, Trump undermined the rollout, clearly with an eye toward blaming the states for the problems he set in motion. From Stat:

The logistics of the rollout have been largely left up to states to navigate. States and local public health officials have warned for months that they would need more than $8 billion in additional funding to stand up the infrastructure needed to administer vaccines. The Trump administration instead provided states $340 million in funding to prepare for vaccinations. Congressional lawmakers also balked for months at appropriating additional funding for vaccine distribution, although the coronavirus stimulus package signed by President Trump on Sunday included $8 billion in funding for that effort.

Some public health officials, including former CDC director Tom Frieden, have publicly blamed Operation Warp Speed leadership for the pace of the rollout. Warp Speed’s distribution efforts are led by Gus Perna, a military general and logistics expert who has no previous experience with vaccination campaigns.

Lo and behold, there was Fox & Friends, happily doing the heavy propaganda lifting, with a professional assist from Dr. Marc Siegel. As CNN’s Brianna Keilar has brilliantly demonstrated, Siegel is paid to politicize his medical credentials, not to help spread information about keeping people safe in a pandemic.

Cohost Will Cain got the messaging going, probably with extra Trump-approval points for focusing on New York.

CAIN: New York has administered less than a third of its COVID vaccine doses it has on hand. New York Post editorial board is calling out Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. Here’s the cover this morning. It says, "Where's our shot?" Governor Cuomo said nearly 40% of the doses that the federal government has sent to New York have been used. “Unlike other states, we are” -- this is what he says - “we are following expert recommendations to ensure vaccines are administered efficiently and effectively.”

So, Dr. Siegel, we're looking at a slow rollout, once the states already have it in hand. Why?

Sure enough, Siegel picked up the ball and ran with it.

SIEGEL: That's also deeply disturbing by the way, Will, because that's actually occurring because not enough places are open and running. I mean, a lot did not give it over the holidays and over the weekends. Get this statistic: There’s a report that more planes landed in JFK on Christmas Day than people got vaccines in New York City. What a disgrace that is.

The vaccine centers need to be open from early in the morning ‘til late at night, the way ours is. And they need to be open on weekends, the way ours is. And the mayor of New York has said I'm going to be giving out a million doses by the end of January. Not at this rate. They’ve only given 88,000 doses so far. … Over 15 million doses have been sent around. Operation Warp Speed getting a lot of blame but really the states are where the slowdown is occurring.

Cohost Jedediah Bila did her part for the cause. She read a statement from de Blasio acknowledging, “We must pick up the pace and fast” and adding that his goal is to provide 1 million doses in January. Then she used that to attack him.

BILA: That just doesn't -- that statement just doesn't work for me. I mean, you know you need to pick up the pace? Yeah, that seemed pretty obvious when you saw the amount of devastation that this virus has done not only in New York but throughout the country. Is this a problem of government bureaucracy? What is going on here that they can't figure out who these vulnerable communities are and how to get this vaccine to them quickly? It seems pretty obvious to me.

SIEGEL: You know, and the point you just made is exactly right. We, of all places, New York, where we saw the devastation of the pandemic from the beginning, are the place that should rise to the occasion.

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