Joe Biden will urge U.S. states to make all adult residents eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine starting April 19, as the country continues to vaccinate people at a rapid rate.
The US president is expected to announce the new target date on Tuesday, after overseeing 150m shootings in his first 75 days in office, according to a senior White House official. That would put his administration on track to meet Biden’s goal of delivering 200m shots in his first 100 days in office.
The new universal adult eligibility date is two weeks earlier than expected. About 40 percent of American adults have now received at least one injection.
While individual states decide which of their residents is eligible for a vaccine, many are already allowing any adult to claim a vaccine, and all but two have announced their intention to do so by April 19. start immunizing everyone according to the president’s previous goal of May 1.
The rollout of the US vaccine has accelerated in recent weeks, with the country now administering around 3 million doses per day, according to Bloomberg data.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 167 million doses have now been administered – more than any other country. While 40% of adults have received at least one vaccine, about a quarter have completed their vaccination cycle, including 55% of people over 65.
Even as vaccinations continue to accelerate, concern is mounting over a possible fourth wave of infections, with cases on the rise in many northern states, including Michigan, Illinois and Vermont.
There are now about 64,000 new cases reported every day in the United States, up from about 53,000 last month. Deaths, however, continue to fall to levels not seen since October, which U.S. health officials say is in part due to high levels of immunization among the elderly.
Public health authorities have warned that new variants, such as the B.1.1.7 strain first detected in the UK, are behind some of the spread. Federal health officials have urged Americans not to abandon measures such as social distancing and wearing masks, even as many states try to relax or drop the restrictions.
Andy Slavitt, a White House coronavirus adviser, said Monday: “We’re not there yet. The war against Covid-19 is far from over, far from won. The worst thing we can do now would be to confuse progress with victory. “
He added, “If we let our guard down now, we’ll see more of our fellow Americans get sick and needlessly die.”