WASHINGTON (CN) — President Joe Biden announced Thursday that his administration is expected to meet its goal of giving out 100 million Covid-19 vaccines within its first 100 days by Friday.
“I’m proud to announce that tomorrow, 58 days into our administration, we will have met my goal of administering 100 million shots to our fellow Americans,” Biden said in a press conference. “That’s weeks ahead of schedule.”
When the U.S. crossed the 50 million-dose threshold three weeks ago, Biden vowed to update the country on vaccination progress for every 50 million administered. As of Thursday, 65% of people age 65 and older have received at least one shot, while 36% are fully vaccinated.
“That’s key,” he said. “This is the population that represents more than 80% of the Covid-19 deaths in America.”
Biden said the U.S. has gone from administering an average of 1 million shots per day to an average of 2.5 million shots per day. He credited this to his administration's use of the Defense Production Act, which was used to call for the immediate expansion of supply stockpiles on everything from N95 masks to vaccine-specific syringes to isolation gowns, swabs and testing reagents.
The president also attributed the 100 million doses to his administration’s work brokering a partnership between two of America’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Merck and Johnson & Johnson, to rapidly produce Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine.
“These steps put us on track to have enough vaccine supply for every American by the end of May,” Biden said, noting that he and Vice President Kamala Harris believe speed and efficiency must be met with fairness and equity and are making special efforts to vaccinate marginalized communities.
“We will not stop until we beat this pandemic,” Biden said, indicating he will announce the country’s next vaccination goal next week. “This is a time for optimism, but it is not a time for relaxation.”
Biden announced last week that all American adults will be eligible to sign up for the vaccine by May 1 and small gatherings can begin again on July 4.
“If we stick with the science, we can look forward to a Fourth of July that looks a little more normal,” Biden said. The president urged Americans to get vaccinated when it’s their turn, mask up, socially distance and listen to guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’re way ahead of schedule, but we have a long way to go,” he said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also announced Thursday that the administration is finalizing plans to send 4 million doses of stockpiled AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico and Canada as the U.S. waits for official usage approval.
The vaccine has been authorized for use in both Canada and Mexico. The agreement would mark the first time the U.S. has shared vaccines with any other countries.
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