President Joe Biden didn't set a new goal this week when he said the United States could vaccinate 1.5 million people a day against the CCP virus, the White House clarified on Tuesday.
"The president didn't actually say 'the new goal is;' the president said, 'I hope we can do even more than that.' And that is certainly of course his hope," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing.
"He is continuing to push our team to get as many Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible. That's why we set the bold goal of 100 million shots in the arms of Americans in 100 days to begin with."
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Biden said: "I think with the grace of God and the goodwill of the neighbor and the creek not rising, and as the old saying goes, I think we may be able to get that to 1.5 million a day, rather than 1 million a day, but we have to meet that goal of a million a day."
"I hope we’ll be able to increase as we go along until we get to the million five a day. That’s my hope," he added.
While the 1 million per day goal remains, Biden does want to surpass it, Psaki said. "But again, it is a goal that was set with contingencies. We need to plan for that in mind, and he’s going to continue to push the team to meet that goal and go beyond it," she said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23.5 million doses have been administered as of Jan. 26. Pfizer's CCP virus vaccine was authorized for emergency use on Dec. 11, 2020, and Moderna's was cleared six days later.
On CNN, White House chief of staff Ron Klain defended Biden's goal, saying over 1 million people were vaccinated on only one day during the Trump administration.
"Our goal is to hit a million 100 days out of 100," he said. "No country in the history of the world has ever done that. It's never happened before. That's a pretty ambitious goal."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, elevated to be a medical adviser to Biden after serving in the Trump administration, said over the weekend that the average daily vaccinations during Trump's term was around 450,000.
Biden's goal is "a floor, not a ceiling," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
He noted that 100 million doses does not mean 100 million people being vaccinated, since both of the vaccines that have been authorized by drug regulators require two doses.
That means, at the end of the 100 days, "you're going to have some people who will have gotten both shots and some will still be on their first shots," he said.