In major milestone, US on cusp of 100 million COVID-19 shots

Biden says the US will meet the goal Friday, six weeks before his self-imposed deadline of his 100th day as president.

An essential worker getting a vaccination at a mobile drive for essential food processing workers in Vernon, Los Angeles, California, on March 17, 2021 [Lucy Nicholson/Reuters]
An essential worker getting a vaccination at a mobile drive for essential food processing workers in Vernon, Los Angeles, California, on March 17, 2021 [Lucy Nicholson/Reuters]

The United States will have administered 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations as of Friday, President Joe Biden announced Thursday, reaching a self-imposed milestone six weeks ahead of schedule.

On December 8, Biden made the goal of administering 100 million doses in his first 100 days, a goal set before the US had even one authorised vaccine for COVID-19, let alone the three that have now received emergency authorisation.

By the time Biden was inaugurated on January 20, the US had already administered 20 million shots at a rate of about one million doses a day, sparking complaints at the time that Biden’s goal was not ambitious enough. Biden quickly revised it upward to 150 million doses in his first 100 days.

US President Joe Biden said that eight weeks ago, only 8 percent of seniors had been vaccinated, but now 65 percent of people aged 65 and older have received at least one and 36 percent are fully vaccinated [Lucy Nicholson/Reuters]
“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 during a news conference on Thursday, “that’s weeks ahead of schedule.”

Biden said that, eight weeks ago, only 8 percent of seniors had been vaccinated, but now 65 percent of people aged 65 and older have received at least one shot and 36 percent are fully vaccinated.

Biden highlighted the disproportionate impact the disease has had on Black and Latino communities, and the efforts his administration has put into ensuring that all American get equal access to the vaccine.

“We believe that speed and efficiency must be matched with fairness and equity,” Biden said.

He also repeated his pledge that all adults will have access to a vaccine by May 1, paving the way for the nation to regain a sense of normalcy by July 4. Biden said that his administration will be announcing more goals in the days to come.

“We will not stop until we beat this pandemic,” he said.

The US is currently injecting an average of about 2.2 million doses each day – and the pace of vaccination is likely to dramatically rise later this month in conjunction with an expected surge in supply of the vaccines.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 116 million injections have so far been administered.

Essential worker receiving COVID-19 vaccination in Vernon, Los Angeles, California, US on March 17, 2021 [Lucy Nicholson/Reuters]
The president has moved to speed up deliveries of vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, as well as to expand the number of places to get shots and people can administer them, with a focus on increasing the nation’s capacity to inject doses as supply constraints lift.

But a year after the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic, the disease has taken a heavy toll on the US. On Thursday, the US death toll topped 538,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, more than any other nation in the world.

Biden has blamed his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, for poor planning that contributed to a slow rollout of the vaccination campaign, as well as his poor adherence to public safety rules for setting a bad example to the American public.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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