President Joe Biden said that the U.S. will have enough vaccine supply for all adults by the end of May, calling this “important progress” in the fight against COVID-19.
In remarks from the White House on Tuesday, Biden announced that, thanks to the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week, the country would now have enough vaccine supply for all adults by the end of May, two months earlier than the previous projection of the end of July.
However, the president cautioned that having enough supply was only half the battle, as the government also needs enough staff and vaccination sites for everyone to get inoculated.
With more than 51 million people having received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, Biden expressed confidence that his administration would reach its goal of 100 million people vaccinated in its first 100 days.
“I urge all Americans: Stay socially distanced, wear masks, get vaccinated when it’s your turn,” Biden said, noting that more than 515,000 people in the U.S. have died so far from the virus. “Now is not the time to let our guard down. People’s lives are at stake.”
Biden also announced a new directive for every state to prioritize educators for the vaccine so teachers, students and school support staff can safely return to in-person instruction.
The administration’s goal is to have all educators, school staff and child care workers be able to get vaccinated by the end of March. Biden said that starting next week, educators would be able to sign up to get a vaccine at retail pharmacies.
“Let’s treat in-person [schooling] like the essential service that it is,” Biden said, noting that educational disparities “grow wider each day” with virtual learning. “That means getting essential workers — school staff — getting them vaccinated.”
The president also urged senators to pass the coronavirus relief package promptly, which would include additional unemployment benefits, stimulus checks and other support.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now,” Biden said. “Look out for one another.”
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