President Joe Biden unveiled new actions March 29 to get more people vaccinated quickly and that 90% of adults in the U.S. will be eligible for vaccination and 90% will have a vaccination site within 5 miles of where they live by April 19.
“Last week, we set a goal of 200 million shots by day 100 of our administration – double the original goal that I had set. And to make that progress, over the last three days, we’ve had a record number of shots in arms with over 10 million shots recorded in the weekend. Over 10 million shots in three days – that would have been inconceivable in January.
“You know, as many people as we have vaccinated, we still have more Americans left to go. You know, we will administer more shots in March than any country on Earth. But even so, we have to give more shots in April than we did in March. Because we’re in the life and death race for the virus that is spreading quickly with cases rising again. New variants are spreading. And sadly, some of the reckless behavior we’ve seen on television over the past few weeks means that more new cases are to come in the weeks ahead.”
As part of his plan, he announced that his administration would increase the number of pharmacies in the federal pharmacy vaccination program from 17,000 to nearly 40,000 across the country and will stand up a dozen more mass vaccination sites by the same date. And that a new effort to fund community organizations to provide transportation and assistance for the nation’s most at-risk seniors and people with disabilities to access vaccines. This builds on last week’s historic $10 billion investment to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines in the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities.
“By getting more vaccine supply to states, community health centers, and pharmacies, we can vaccinate the highest-risk Americans more quickly than we already are,” he said. “And then – and then we make it possible to open up supplies for all adults and to try to beat the renewed spread of this virus.”
Biden called for all states, tribes and territories to make all U.S. adults eligible for vaccination no later than May 1 and is working closely with state and local leaders to make this happen as quickly as possible. To date, 31 states have said they will open up eligibility to all adults by the proposed date.
He also reminded Americans about the importance of taking preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, as variants continue to spread and cases are on the rise. And he called for continued masking and social distancing as we work to get more people vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate. Please, this is not politics,” Biden urged them. “Reinstate the mandate if you let it down. And business should require masks as well. The failure to take this virus seriously – precisely what got us in this mess in the first place – risks more cases and more deaths.
“Look, as I do my part to accelerate the vaccine distribution and vaccinations, I need the American people to do their part as well. Mask up. Mask up. It’s a patriotic duty. It’s the only way we ever get back to normal – to cheer together in stadiums full of fans; to gather together on holidays again safely; go to graduations, weddings.
“Now is not the time to let down. Now is not the time to celebrate. It is time to do what we do best as a country: our duty, our jobs; take care of one another; and fight this to the finish.”