President Joe Biden announced that all adult Americans will be eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines as of April 19, 2021, far ahead of the schedule he had proposed at the beginning of his administration, where he said 100 million people would be inoculated in his first 100 days.
Breaking through that barrier in a little more than half that time, the President stated on Tuesday that all adult Americans can receive the vaccines in a little less than two weeks from now.
As of Wednesday, 168 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered to Americans, with 63.1 million, or 19%, of the US public now fully vaccinated.
“We aren’t at the finish line”
However, while he expressed optimism regarding the lightning-fast pace of inoculations throughout the country, he warned his countrymen that the nation is not out of the woods regarding the pandemic.
“Let me be deadly earnest with you: We aren’t at the finish line. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re still in a life-and-death race against this virus,” Biden said in remarks he made at the White House yesterday.
With the original coronavirus on the run, the variants that have become more common through out the world have reared their heads in the United States as well. In some states, including Florida, variants make up the majority of coronavirus cases now.
Biden said “The new variants of the virus are spreading, and they’re moving quickly. Cases are going back up, hospitalizations are no longer declining.”
Pandemic remains dangerous despite pace of coronavirus vaccination
He then added that “the pandemic remains dangerous,” encouraging Americans to continue all the appropriate coronavirus safety measures, including mask-wearing and social distancing.
The United States stands twelfth in the world regarding the number of deaths per million in those suffering with the coronavirus, with the Czech Republic having the dubious distinction of being in first place, with 2,440 deaths per million inhabitants.
A number of other European countries rank further down the list, with the UK in sixth place, having lost 1,890 of its citizens per million. The US has lost a total of 1,668 of its citizens to the virus per million inhabitants. Figures are not given for Russia and China, which are not considered reliable reporters.
New goal: 200 million vaccinations in first 100 days of Biden administration
After setting the new goal of administering a whopping 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine in the first 100 days of his administration, the President admitted that the frenetic pace of the inoculation campaign needs to be kept up so that the nation can outrun the spread of the variants.
He urged all Americans to step up and get their inoculations as soon as they possibly can as access and distribution of the vaccines improves all over the country.
Several states had already moved up their deadlines from the original goal of having all adults in the country eligible as of May 1. Biden seemed to believe it was important to have one national deadline, instead of fifty individual state deadlines, to make the process less perplexing, as he explained to reporters “No more confusing rules. No more confusing restrictions.”
“Vaccines work on all” of the variants
The President made the announcement after visiting a mass vaccination site at Immanuel Chapel at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria.
While there, Biden warmly thanked everyone for administering the shots — and for receiving them.
“That’s the way to beat this. Get the vaccination when you can,” he stated. Biden also added that no one should fear the mutations that are showing up in the US after popping up in other countries around the globe.
After acknowledging that these strains are more virulent, he added “the vaccines work on all of them.”
He also stated at the vaccination center that 150 million doses of vaccines have been administered since his Inauguration Day on January 20. This, of course, puts Biden well on track to surpass his new goal of 200 million shots by the end of his first 100 days in office, which will occur just 23 days from now, on April 30th.
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, also spent Tuesday giving support to those working at vaccination centers around the country. Harris toured a facility in Chicago and her husband did the same in Yakima, Washington.
Harris: “Light at the end of the tunnel”
Harris, in praising the workers and vaccine recipients at a local union hall, noted that in Springtime, there is always “a moment where we feel a sense of renewal.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she added.
Along with the lightning-fast pace of the vaccine rollout in the US, some states are eager to lighten up on their coronavirus restrictions, bargaining that they will outrun any inroads that the variants will make before everyone who desires an inoculation can be vaccinated.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, cautioned that this is no time to start taking things easy, since the nation was in a “critical time” because the US could “just as easily swing up into a surge.”
Fauci warns of “psychological setbacks”
“That would be a setback for public health, but it would be a psychological setback too,” he warned during an interview with the Associated Press.
He acknowledged that indeed, just as everywhere else in the world, Americans are experiencing “Covid-19 fatigue” after more than a year of lockdowns and restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
“We just don’t want to go back to really shutting things down. That would be terrible,” Fauci added.
Biden’s pushing up of the eligibility date for all adult Americans to receive the virus was in part aimed at encouraging the US to stay the course, to give the public a renewed focus and goal to shoot for as it tries mightily to exit the pandemic and restart its economy and normal social events.
And it comes at an opportune time, as a flood of vaccines reached states during this week, with many states already opening their vaccination centers to everyone over sixteen.
Jeff Zients, the White House’s coronavirus coordinator, told the nation’s 50 governors during a conference call yesterday afternoon that more than 28 million doses of vaccines will be delivered to states this week alone.
That allocation will bring the total number of doses distributed over the last three weeks to an eye-popping 90 million, according to White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Just last week, Biden had announced that 90% of adults would be eligible for one of the three approved vaccines by April 19 — and even more ambitiously, that all Americans should have a vaccination site within five miles of their home.
Of course, having eligibility is not the same as actually putting shots in arms — eligibility means that all adult Americans will be able to put their names on a list and reserve their place in a “virtual line” until an appointment can be scheduled.
As Psaki noted “It means they can join the line that day if they have not already done that beforehand.”