President Joe Biden on April 6. Evan Vucci/AP
Biden announced Tuesday that all US adults would be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by April 19.
About 32% of Americans have received at least one vaccine dose and nearly 19% are fully vaccinated.
Biden’s goal is for 200 million shots to be administered in his first 100 days.
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President Joe Biden delivered a speech on Tuesday afternoon during which he moved up the timeline for all American adults to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine to April 19.
In his first televised address as president on March 11, Biden directed states to make the vaccines available to all American adults by May 1. He had also said the US would procure enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all Americans by the end of May.
“I’m announcing today that we’re moving that date up from May 1 to April 19 nationwide,” Biden said on Tuesday. “That means that no later than April 19, in every part of this country, every adult over the age of 18 will be eligible to be vaccinated – no more confusing rules, no more confusing restrictions.”
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Biden toured a vaccination site in Virginia on Tuesday before giving his speech, while Vice President Kamala Harris visited a labor-union-run vaccine site in Chicago forged as a collaboration between the city of Chicago and the Chicago Federation of Labor.
The president said 150 million vaccine doses had been administered under his administration. The president’s goal is for 200 million shots to be put into Americans’ arms by the end of his first 100 days on April 30.
Despite the progress in vaccinations, Biden warned Americans not to get complacent as COVID-19 cases rose nationwide.
“The virus is spreading because we have too many people who’ve seen the end in sight and think we’re at the finish line already,” Biden said. “But let me be deadly earnest with you: We’re not at the finish line yet. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re still in a life-and-death race against this virus.”
Several states have already opened up eligibility to residents 16 and up or announced plans to do so by May 1. Providers administered 3 million vaccine daily doses on average over the past week, according to The New York Times.
As of Tuesday, 108 million Americans – a little over 32% of the population – had received at least one vaccine dose, while 62.3 million Americans – about 19% of the population – had been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine is authorized for people ages 16 and up, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines are authorized for adults 18 and above. Biden said that among Americans 65 and older, 75% had received at least one vaccine dose and over half had been fully vaccinated.
The president also made a special plea to older people to get vaccinated, saying that his administration would direct special resources to help them access vaccines.
“It’s simple. Seniors, it’s time for you to get vaccinated now. Get vaccinated now. To make it easier, my administration is sending aid to community groups to drive seniors to vaccination sites,” he said. “If you know someone under 65 who has not gotten this lifesaving vaccine, call them now. Work with them to get their shots this week or next.”
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