President Joe Biden gave former President Donald Trump credit Friday morning for his work in developing COVID-19 vaccines before leaving office despite saying earlier this week that he doesn't think of his predecessor.
"President Trump, early on, went out and tried to do the research to try to get the right vaccines," Biden said. "But logistically, logistically, getting the vaccines from a container that gets delivered to you to a hospital to a state to a — and getting it in someone's arm, that's a very difficult thing."
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Biden had just wrapped up a speech on Friday's jobs report, but reporters were more interested in the latest news on the administration's response to COVID-19 and the omicron variant.
"Are you no longer going to shut it down?" asked Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy, referencing a campaign pledge Biden made last year that has proven elusive. He also questioned whether vaccines approved by Trump would be safe on the campaign trail. More people in the United States have died in 2021 from the disease than in all of 2020.
The president sounded a different tune Friday, crediting domestic progress and vaccination rates but saying it's harder to protect from foreign variants.
"The idea that you can build a wall around America to keep any COVID from around world out is not there," Biden said. "That's one of the reasons why I know we get criticized for not doing more for the world."
The U.S. has provided more vaccines to foreign countries than any other nation. The next step will be helping them get those shots into people's arms. Biden added that he favors suspending vaccine patents to help foreign countries manufacture them locally.
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"South Africa has all the vaccines they need, and they don't want any more vaccines now," the president said. "One of the things I'm considering is how can we help them deal with the issue of [logistics]."