Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Biden vows '100 million vaccinations in first 100 days' in office
9 December 2020, 06:19
US president-elect Joe Biden has pledged to deliver 100 million Covid vaccinations during his first 100 days in office.
Mr Biden, who will take over the presidency in January, was speaking as he introduced his pandemic response team.
He said that Americans should wear masks for 100 days to prevent the coronavirus from spreading and that he would make them mandatory in certain indoor spaces.
"In 100 days, we can change the course of the disease and change life in America for the better," he said, adding: "Whatever your politics or point of view, mask up for 100 days."
Mr Biden also said he hopes the virus could be well enough under control to allow "the majority" of schools to be reopened during his first 100 days as president.
He said: "My first 100 days won't end the Covid-19 virus. I can't promise that.
"But we did not get into this mess quickly. We're not going to get out of it quickly. It's going to take some time."
On Tuesday, a report was released which brought hope that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be approved and rolled out for Americans.
President Donald Trump meanwhile attended a summit at the White House of his Covid vaccination programme, called Operation Warp Speed, and hailed the expected approval of vaccines.
The US has recorded more than 15 million cases of infection in the pandemic so far and 285,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University research.
Many parts of the country are seeing peak infections with many experts blaming travel by millions over the recent Thanksgiving holiday.
The president-elect was attending a press conference in Delaware during which he introduced California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his nomination for health secretary and his choice of Rochelle Walensky as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Among Mr Biden's other aides will be Dr Anthony Fauci as chief Covid medical adviser.
Meanwhile, President Trump threatened to use the Defense Production Act to make sure Americans are first in line for US-produced coronavirus vaccines.
The US president was speaking at a summit on vaccine development and distribution, where he signed an executive order to ensure vaccines procured by the US are used there before they are sent anywhere else.
Mr Trump said: "If necessary we'll invoke the Defense Production Act, but we don't think it will be necessary.
"If it is, it's a very powerful act, as you know, because we've used it very, very successfully."
Mr Biden's team was not invited to the summit, despite the fact that they will be handling most of the vaccine distribution effort.
When asked why none of Mr Biden's team had been invited, Mr Trump said: "We're going to have to see who the next administration is, because we won in those swing states and there was terrible things that went on.
"But whichever the next administration is will really benefit by what we have been able to do.
"Hopefully the next administration will be the Trump administration."