- President Joe Biden said all US adults should be eligible for a vaccine by May 1.
- But with an average of 2.3 million shots administered per day, the US is on pace to beat that goal.
- As of Friday, 20% of Americans had received one shot, while 10% were fully vaccinated.
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President Joe Biden said Thursday that all US adults will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, but recent vaccination rates suggest it could be even sooner.
The president was speaking during his first prime-time address since taking office and on the heels of the passage of the Democrats’ $US1.9 ($2) trillion stimulus package. Biden said the vaccination schedule could mean life will return to somewhat “normal” by July 4.
But as of Friday, the rate of vaccinations has reached an average of 2.3 million shots administered per day, marking a 40% increase from a month prior, The New York Times reported. That rate means the US could reach the May 1 goal even sooner.
The US is also paced to beat Biden’s initial goal of administering 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days. At the current rate, that goal will be reached next week, about two months into his presidency.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20% of Americans had received at least one shot as of Friday, while 10% have been fully vaccinated. For the most vulnerable age group of 65 and over, more than 61% have received a shot and 32% are fully vaccinated.
The improvements in vaccination rate is due to an increase in production and distribution of the vaccine, both of which started under former President Donald Trump’s administration and have been greatly accelerated under Biden.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized a third coronavirus vaccine, made by Johnson & Johnson, for use in the US in late February. Production of that vaccine was ramped up by collaboration efforts negotiated under Trump and Biden.
Biden also made significant changes to the vaccine distribution plan, such as opening federally-supported mass vaccination sites across the US, including at stadiums and schools.
As vaccination rates have improved, an increasing number of states have begun expanding who is eligible for a vaccine, The Times reported. As of Tuesday evening, anyone over 16 can get vaccinated in Alaska, making it the first state to make vaccines so widely available.