Biden’s new deadline: Make all adults eligible for vaccination by April 19
President Joe Biden on Tuesday directed states to move up the deadline to make all adults eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by almost 2 weeks to April 19.
“No more confusing rules, no more confusing restrictions,” Biden said during an address.
The announcement came as experts worry about another surge in COVID-19 cases and a potential fourth wave. Biden, who also offered warnings about the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, had previously directed that states make all adults eligible for vaccination no later than May 1.
Biden said the United States has delivered 150 million shots in the first 75 days of his administration, including more than 4 million shots on Saturday alone — a record. The administration set a new goal last month to have 200 million shots delivered in its first 100 days, doubling its original goal of 100 million shots in 100 days.
“We got to keep moving. If I could raise it up higher, I would,” Biden said.
According to tracking by the CDC, as of April 5, 107,515,428 people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 62,392,065 people have been fully vaccinated. In total, CDC data show that more than 207 million doses have been delivered and more than 167 million have been administered in the U.S.
On Monday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said more effort is needed to ensure equitable access to vaccines on a global scale. To date, 147 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 globally, and 678 million doses have been administered, according to data compiled by Our World in Data, a research group affiliated with the University of Oxford.
With these numbers below targets, and some countries struggling to procure vaccines, the Biden administration appointed Gayle Smith, a former USAID administrator and member of the Obama administration’s Ebola response team, as the U.S.’s coordinator for global COVID-19 response and health security.
“She’s tested. She’s highly respected. She will hit the ground running,” Blinken said. “And I can say from having worked with Gayle and admired her for years that no one will work harder, faster or more effectively to get us to the finish line.”
Smith recalled viruses she has helped fight in the past and noted a couple of lessons she learned, including that if a virus is moving faster than you are, it’s winning.
“Our challenges now are two: first, to shorten the lifespan of a borderless pandemic that is destroying lives and livelihoods all over the world; and second, to ensure that we can prevent, detect, and respond to those future global health threats we know are coming,” Smith said. “American leadership is desperately needed, and I’m extremely confident we can rise to the occasion.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated with remarks made during the White House briefing.
CDC. COVID-19 vaccination in the United States. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations. Accessed on April 6, 2021.
Our World In Data. Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations. https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations. Accessed on April 6, 2021.