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Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that the US had administered 200m vaccine doses since he took office, fulfilling a pledge to reach that target within his first 100 days in office. As of this week, all American adults are eligible to receive a vaccine. “To put it simply, if you’ve been waiting for your turn, wait no longer,” Biden said.
The president initially promised to administer 100m doses over his first 100 days, but he doubled that goal after hitting 100m shots last month, weeks ahead of schedule.
More than 80% of Americans over the age of 65 will have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose by tomorrow, Biden said from the White House.
The president said the country was “entering a new phase” in its vaccination efforts, now that all American adults are eligible.
“Now our objective is to reach everyone – everyone over the age of 16 in America,” Biden said. He also announced a new federal program to provide American workers with paid leave when they receive their coronavirus vaccinations.
“No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated,” the president said.
With more than 50% of adults at least partially vaccinated and roughly 28m vaccine doses being delivered each week, supply has become less of a concern than demand.
In a speech on Wednesday, Biden acknowledged entering a “new phase” in the federal vaccination effort that relies on increased outreach to Americans to get their shots, to protect themselves and their communities.
“Vaccines can save your own life, but they can also save your grandmother’s life, your co-worker’s life, the grocery store clerk or the delivery person helping you and your neighbors get through the crisis,” Biden said. “That’s why you should get vaccinated.”
Echoing public health experts, Biden reiterated that vaccines were the country’s way out of the pandemic.
Over the past week, the pace of inoculation in the US has slowed slightly. That is partly a reflection of disruptions from the “pause” in administration of the Johnson & Johnson shot for a safety review after the vaccine was potentially linked to rare blot clot cases.
There has also been a softening of interest in vaccines in many places even as eligibility has been opened to all. Surveys have shown that vaccine hesitancy has declined since the rollout of the shots, but administration officials believe they have to make getting vaccinated easier and more appealing, particularly for younger Americans who are less at risk from the virus and do not feel the same urgency to get a shot.
Roughly 130 million Americans have yet to receive one dose. And even as Biden celebrated the vaccine milestone, many states are seeing demand slip.
In Iowa, nearly half of the counties are not accepting new doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from the state’s allotment because demand has fallen off. In Florida, Palm Beach county plans to close mass vaccination clinics at the end of May with thousands of available vaccine slots unclaimed. In rural West Virginia, a vaccine clinic at a casino/race track parking garage is opening shots to out-of-state residents to address lagging demand. The hope is that people from Washington DC make the hour’s drive to get vaccinated. In Arizona, a plan collapsed that would have opened a federally run vaccine site in Tucson; demand is slipping and county officials preferred more targeted, mobile locations.
Asked about the dip in vaccinations, Biden’s health secretary, Xavier Becerra, said “fluctuation is not uncommon” and that “what we want to do is continue to encourage Americans to continue to get vaccinated”.
“The pace of vaccination isn’t linear,” Becerra said, adding: “We are on a pretty good pace.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: US has hit goal of 200m vaccine doses within 100 days, Biden announces | Joe Biden