The line for Coronavirus vaccinations at the United Center, Chicago, Illinois, March 10, 2021 (Scott Olson/Getty)
The US Coronavirus vaccine campaign accelerates, with President Joe Biden pledging availability for every adult American by May 1.
Biden entered office on January 20 with the goal of 100 million doses administered in 100 days, following the failure of the Trump Administration to meet initial targets.
The 1 million doses per day objective was quickly exceeded, with 1.7 million by February 12. It has risen another 40% in the past month to 2.3 million shots per day.
Biden noted, in his first national address as President on Thursday, that the percentage of over-65 Americans with a first vaccination has risen from 8% to 65%. For over-75s, the increase is from 14% to more than 70%.
More than 101 million doses have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 84 million of them were given after January 20.
The American Rescue Plan, signed by Biden on Thursday, allocates $14 billion to vaccine distribution. More mass vaccination sites are opening and expanding across the US, with some extending hours.
Biden said in mid-February that inoculations should be available for every adult by the end of July. After Government purchases of hundreds of millions of doses, including of the recently-approved Johnson & Johnson version, the President moved the target to the end of May.
Still, Biden and his medical and public health experts are emphasizing that containment of the virus is still needed. The President said on Thursday:
We need everyone to get vaccinated. We need everyone to keep washing their hands, stay socially distanced and keep wearing the mask as recommended by the CDC. Even if we devote every resource we have beating this virus and getting back to normal depends on national unity….
Because if we don’t stay vigilant and the conditions change and we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track, please, we don’t want to do that again. We’ve made so much progress.
“This is not the time to let up.
The US death toll reached 532,590 on Friday. Confirmed cases are 29,347,339.