The story focused on the administration’s role in ramping up vaccinations across the U.S., but it failed to mention the critical groundwork after the rapid production and distribution of the vaccines through Operation Warp Speed.
It described the Biden administration’s effort to vaccinate more Americans as urgent and wartime, and claimed it brought the U.S. from having one of the worst pandemic responses in the world to being a global leader in vaccinations.
“The interviews reveal how the Biden team inherited a pandemic at its zenith with a high demand for vaccines and little supply, along with no long-term plan to vaccinate millions of Americans,” the story continued.
It went on to praise Biden for being aggressive in setting goals for vaccination milestones, for bringing a fresh urgency, and for having a desire to lean on scientific experts.
The only time the Trump administration was mentioned in the story was when the author stated there was an ongoing dispute between officials under President Biden and former President Donald Trump over what vaccine distribution plans were rolled over on Jan. 20.
“There was no plan to get shots into arms,” White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients claimed to CNN. “Those early doses of Moderna and Pfizer were being drop-shipped to states.”
Paul Mango, a former Department of Health and Human Services official under Trump, disputed Zients claim, telling CNN, “I have to say it’s frustrating when they spend all of their time disparaging what we did. They say we didn’t have a plan. We had 65 plans.”
The story did note that Dr. Anthony Fauci did an about-face on the hand-off to the Biden administration, from saying that Biden was not starting from scratch on vaccine distribution in January, to now downplaying the preparedness of his previous boss’s administration on getting people vaccinated.
The Trump administration previously received praise for its accomplishments through Operation Warp Speed, with even CNN’s own Jake Tapper calling it an “unmitigated success.” Some current Biden administration officials have also previously touted the program’s accomplishments.
Some went after CNN over the story online. The liberal outlet pushed a similar narrative in January, when the country had already reached 1 million vaccinations per day as Biden took office. It quoted anonymous Biden-camp sources who claimed they had to start from scratch on vaccinations, a story which Fauci pushed back against.
Biden White House official Andrew Bates liked CNN’s framing of the narrative.
The story came a day before CNN published an “analysis” piece ahead of Biden’s first address to Congress, praising his “moderate radicalism.”