Biden provided the update as he and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to Arizona health care officials during a virtual tour of the vaccination site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. The president jabbed at the Trump administration’s handling of the campaign’s logistics but asserted the country was on track to “considerably” surpass Biden’s 100 million target.
“When we got in, we were short on vaccines and short on organization,” Biden said. “When we got sworn in, we committed to doing 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days. We’re exceeding that, with the grace of God, the goodwill of neighbors and help from people like you, we’re going to end up doing more than that.”
According to numerous reports, the country was already on the way toward reaching the original 100 million shots goal before Biden took office.
State Farm Stadium, home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, was converted into a 24-7 vaccination hub in recent weeks. The drive-thru operation is averaging 8,000 vaccinations per day and can administer up to 400 doses per hour, according to officials who spoke during the virtual event.
Biden said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called him prior to the Super Bowl to reiterate his offer that the league’s stadiums serve as vaccination hubs throughout the country.
In his first question of the event, Biden asked Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ to comment on whether the operation at State Farm Stadium would have been possible “without federal help.” More than 300 federal personnel are working at the hub and FEMA has provided more than $20 million in funds to aid its operation.
“The reason I ask it is, a lot of states originally said, ‘we’re fine, we don’t need any help, just get us the vaccine and we’ll be fine,’” Biden said.
In response, Christ indicated that federal aid has played a key role in setting up the operation.
“Without the federal funding and without the federal partnership, this would be a huge logistical lift,” she said.
The virtual event featured an awkward exchange between Biden and the Arizona State University nurse serving as the lead clinical supervisor at the State Farm Stadium facility. During the call, the president asked the nurse if she was a “freshman at the university.”
“You look like a freshman,” Biden said to the woman, who clarified that she had been a registered nurse for nine years.