Joe Biden said the United States will have enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all American adults for coronavirus by the end of May, crediting a “stepped up process” under his administration because he had to differentiate his vaccine rollout process from that of his predecessor.
“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden said in remarks Tuesday afternoon at the White House. “When we came into office, the prior administration had contracted for not nearly enough vaccine to cover adults in America. We rectified that.”
BREAKING: “This country will have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May," President Biden says, advancing expected timeline by two months. pic.twitter.com/0hZq2862MD
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 2, 2021
Biden made the announcement while outlining the previously leaked “breakthrough collaboration” between Merck and Johnson & Johnson to produce the latter’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine – a partnership between rivals aimed at ramping up the pace of inoculations that will help provide enough supply for every adult in the U.S. by the end of May. Biden stressed that Tuesday’s developments marked a significant milestone in the fight against the virus, but he cautioned that more work needs to be done in order to distribute the vaccine and inoculate much of the U.S. population.
Today, President Biden announced a breakthrough collaboration between Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and the federal government to ramp up vaccine production. Because of these efforts, we will have enough vaccines for every American by the end of May–two months earlier than expected.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 2, 2021
The new timeline is more condensed than Biden’s previous prediction that the U.S. would have enough vaccines for all American adults, some 600 million doses, by the end of July.
Biden also said he hopes the U.S. would be back to normal “by this time next year” but said he’d been cautioned not to provide a specific date “because we don’t know for sure.”
“My hope is by this time next year we are going to be back to normal or before that,” Biden said.
He underscored his administration’s efforts to boost the number of vaccinators and locations where Americans can receive doses. “That is progress, important progress,” Biden said. “But it’s not enough to have the vaccine supply.”
It could take much longer for the country to vaccinate the adult population, given the logistical hurdles of distributing and administering vaccines. Americans in states and cities, including Washington, D.C., have encountered challenges in signing up for appointments online. The Biden administration is also trying to address vaccine hesitancy by communicating that the vaccines are safe and effective in order to ensure that as much of the population as possible gets vaccinated.
Biden urged Americans to remain vigilant by continuing to wash their hands, keep their distance from others and wear masks. Ironically, his remarks came as governors in Texas and Mississippi lifted mask mandates and other restrictions, allowing businesses to fully reopen. Biden did not mention those states on Tuesday but emphasized his call for Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.
“Things may get worse again as new variants spread and as we face setbacks like recent winter storms in the Midwest and South. But our administration will never take this public health threat lightly,” Biden said. “Now is not the time to let our guard down. People’s lives are at stake.”
Via Zero Hedge