Gavin Newsom Blamed Donald Trump for California Vaccine Issues. Now, Joe Biden's in Charge

California Governor Gavin Newsom is under pressure as the state's COVID-19 vaccine roll out continues to lag behind. At the same time, he faces a mounting recall petition from campaigners who claim they have almost hit their target of 1.5 million signatures—with two months left to gather names.

The Democratic state leader previously tried to place blame onto former President Donald Trump and his administration, arguing that state authorities needed "more vaccines and clarity of when we will be receiving them."

However, now that President Joe Biden sits in the White House and has begun his coronavirus plan, it could be harder for Newsom to pin California's COVID troubles on federal failures.

The newly inaugurated commander-in-chief signed a series of COVID executive orders on Thursday—including a directive ordering that face masks be worn on federal property and interstate travel.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom holds up a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center on December 14, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Jae C. Hong-Pool/Getty Images

"We don't have a second to waste when it comes to getting this virus under control," President Biden tweeted. "That's why today, I'll be signing executive actions to expand testing, administer vaccines, and safely reopen schools and businesses."

California has ordered more than 4.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with almost 4 million being shipped so far, according to the latest state government data. However, the state has so far only administered 1.6 million doses of the vaccine, putting it in the bottom half of the state league tables.

Our World in Data analysis found that four people per 100 in California had received vaccine doses as of Thursday evening. This puts it behind other large states, including Florida and Texas, where five in every 100 residents have received vaccine doses.

Gov. Newsom told Californians to hold him "accountable" if he failed to reach his goal of administering 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the space of 10 days earlier this month. Data issues have left it unclear whether he achieved this target.

Whether or not the governor met his self-imposed target, COVID cases and deaths in California have continued to climb. The California Department of Public Health reported more than 19,000 new cases of the virus on Thursday, along with a further 571 related deaths.

As cases continued to pile up, so have signatures on the petition to recall the Democratic governor. Recall Gavin 2020, the group calling for Newsom to be ousted from office, claims to have raised around 1.1 million signatures toward the 1.5 million verified signatures it needs for the petition to be valid.

The group has to file a petition with 1.5 million signatures by March 17, but will likely have to top that number to allow for any discounted signatures. Newsweek has contacted Governor Newsom's office for comment. This article will be updated with any response.