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Noah Y. Kim
By Noah Y. Kim February 1, 2021

Biden administration didn’t lose 20 million COVID-19 vaccines

If Your Time is short

• The Biden administration is looking for 20 million doses that were sent out by the Trump administration’s distribution infrastructure before the Biden team took the reins, according to Politico. The Biden administration did not itself lose the vaccines. 

• The article Ryan Fournier linked to as evidence has been corrected to include this information. ​

A conservative commentator known for his support of former President Donald Trump attacked the Biden administration over its role overseeing the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. 

"The Biden Administration lost 20 million COVID vaccines… This entire administration is a joke," tweeted Ryan Fournier, founder of the group Students for Trump.

As evidence, Fournier linked to an article published on the RFAngle, a site of conservative commentary that he founded. 

Fournier’s claim is misleading. There’s a difference between losing vaccines and looking for them.

Politico was the first news outlet to break the story that the Biden administration was trying to locate 20 million missing vaccines. After Biden was sworn in, Politico reported, his COVID-19 response team discovered that the distribution system established by the Trump administration failed to track the full route the vaccines traveled once they left the federal government’s storage spaces. As a result, there was a large gap between the number of vaccines that had been sent out by the federal government and the number that had actually been administered.  

Politico’s reporting made clear that the Trump administration had set up the distribution infrastructure under which the 20 million missing doses had gone missing. 

"That’s a dilemma that predated the Biden team’s arrival," Politico noted. 

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The RFAngle article that Fournier linked to in his tweet is critical of Biden but does not directly claim that the Biden team lost the vaccines. "Biden administration cannot find 20 million vaccine doses," reads the headline. 

Daniel Baldwin, the author of the RFAngle article, told PolitiFact that he based his piece on the Politico report. 

We reached out to Fournier and asked for evidence to back up his claim. In response to our email, Mark Chase at RFAngle responded with a link to the Politico article and a NY Post article that drew on Politico’s reporting. When PolitiFact pointed to the language in the Politico article that contradicts Fournier’s claim, Chase told us that RFAngle had corrected its piece to clarify that the loss of the doses predated the Biden administration.

"The vaccines were dispatched by the federal government to state governments prior to President Biden taking office. The Biden Administration is making efforts to locate them," the correction reads. 

Our ruling

Ryan Fournier claimed that "the Biden administration lost 20 million COVID vaccines."

The Biden administration didn’t lose those doses. The Trump administration set up the distribution infrastructure under which these vaccines went missing. 

The article that Fournier linked to as evidence has been corrected to include this information.

Fournier’s claim is False. ​

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Biden administration didn’t lose 20 million COVID-19 vaccines

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