Biden says country will hit 100 million COVID-19 shots this week
President Biden on Thursday took a small victory lap, announcing that the country will hit his goal of administering 100 million coronavirus shots this week.
“Behind this 100 million shots are millions of lives changed when people receive that dose of hope,” Biden said, adding that number is “just the floor. We will not stop until we beat this pandemic.”
Biden entered office with a goal of administering 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office. He described it as an “audacious” and “aggressive” goal, but experts at the time argued the country would need to be much more ambitious in the coming months, particularly since the U.S. was already administering hundreds of thousands of shots a day when Biden came into office.
According to federal data, the U.S. has administered 115 million doses, and is on track for 200 million shots by the 100-day mark.
But Biden added that the increased pace of vaccinations does mean that the public should get complacent.
“This is a time for optimism but it’s not a time for relaxation. I need all Americans, all of you, to do your part,” Biden said.
The number of coronavirus infectious has plateaued after weeks of decline. The country is averaging 50,000 new cases a day and health officials are warning about a potential new surge as more states lift restrictions that have kept infections in check.
Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases doctor, on Thursday warned lawmakers that the nation is in a “race between the vaccine and the virus.”
Biden acknowledged the urgency, especially as more contagious variants continue to spread.
“Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to fight back against these variants,” he said.
Biden said 65 percent of people over the age of 65 have received at least one shot, and 36 percent are fully vaccinated.
“We have nearly doubled the amount of vaccine doses that we distribute to states, tribes and territories each week,” Biden said. “They’ve gone from 1 million shots a day that I promised in December, before we’re even sworn in, to an average of two and one half million shots a day, outpacing the rest of the world, significantly.”
Biden announced last week in a speech marking the anniversary of pandemic restrictions that he would direct states to make all adults eligible to receive the vaccine by May 1. By May 31, he said the country will have enough supply to vaccinate every American who wants a shot.
Multiple states have since announced plans to expand eligibility to all adults in April, including Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan and Illinois, with the exception of Chicago. Two states have already opened eligibility to all adults.
But being eligible is not the same as actually getting a shot, and administering the vaccines will like take longer.
Biden also teased an announcement next week on his administration’s vaccination goals moving forward.
“If we keep our guard up, stick together and stick with the science we can look forward to a Fourth of July that feels a bit more normal,” Biden said.
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