Biden is postponing the deadline for states to open Covid vaccines to all adults in the United States by April 19
Joe Cobarrubio, 34, will receive a vaccination against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on April 5, 2021 in Artesia, California, United States.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters
President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that states should offer Covid-19 vaccine appointments to all adults in the United States by April 19, extending its original deadline by nearly two weeks.
Biden announced the new deadline after visiting a vaccination site in Alexandria, Virginia. While the deadline is voluntary, it puts public pressure on states that have not yet expanded their admission guidelines.
From the White House, Biden urged Americans to continue taking security measures against pandemics, saying the US had not yet “reached its destination” and could experience more “disease and misery” before July 4th.
“The virus is spreading because we have too many people who see the end in sight and believe we are already there,” said Biden. “We are still in a life and death race against this virus.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed earlier Tuesday that Biden would announce the new deadline for states. She added that this does not mean that every American will get the vaccine “that day”.
“It means they can join the leadership that day if they haven’t done so before,” Psaki said during a press conference at the White House.
A few weeks ago, Biden urged states, tribes and territories to question all adults in the US for a vaccination by May 1 at the latest. However, most states have already announced plans to open the eligibility to all adults by April 19. Only Hawaii and Oregon are safe havens, according to NBC News, no open eligibility plans have been announced as of this date.
Biden announced last week that 90% of adults in the US will be eligible for Covid-19 shots by April 19 and will be within 5 miles of their home on an expanded vaccination schedule. Around 40,000 pharmacies will sell the vaccine, up from 17,000, the president said, and the US is setting up a dozen more mass vaccination sites by April 19.
“For the vast majority of adults, you don’t have to wait until May 1. You can be eligible for your shot on April 19,” Biden said on March 29 during a news conference on the government’s and Covid-19 response Vaccination efforts across the country.
Biden also announced Tuesday that the US had achieved 150 million shots in his first 75 days in office.
The president is pushing for 200 million Covid shots to be administered within his first 100 days in office. The pandemic rate of U.S. vaccinations averaged 3.1 million doses per day over the past week, according to Andy Slavitt, the White House’s senior pandemic advisor.
More than 40% of adults had at least one shot, Slavitt said. He added that 75% of seniors have now received at least one shot and more than half are fully vaccinated.
Even as the pace of vaccinations accelerates, contagious variants are rapidly spreading, potentially hindering the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.
Last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky that B.1.1.7, the variant first identified in the UK, is becoming the predominant strain in many regions of the United States and accounts for 26% of the Covid-19 cases circulating around the nation.
Walensky said on Wednesday that she expected further infections in the United States due to the portability of variant B.1.1.7. She urged the public to continue pandemic security measures such as hand washing, wearing masks and social distancing.
“This is a critical moment in our fight against the pandemic,” Walensky said on Wednesday. “We cannot afford to let go of our watch.”