With 40 days to spare, President Joe Biden today said tomorrow he will meet his goal of administering 100 million COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of Americans during his first 100 days in office.
“I’ve always said that’s just the floor. We will not stop until we beat the pandemic. This is a time for optimism, but not a stop for relaxation,” Biden said today during an address at the White House.
After 60 days in office, Biden said his administration has dramatically ramped up both the pace and supply of vaccinations, to an average of 2.5 million shots given each day, and 65% of the US population older than 65 has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) COVID Data Tracker shows that 151,108,445 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 115,730,008 have been administered, with 40,981,464 Americans fully vaccinated.
Vaccination efforts come as states reopen
Biden reiterated that he has ordered enough vaccine supply to fully vaccinate every adult American by the end of May and once again urged governors to set a May 1 eligibility deadline for all adults in each state. He also said he will make another statement next week on vaccine distribution but offered no clues as to what that is.
The push to vaccinate comes as states loosen pandemic restrictions and more transmissible variants begin to spread rapidly in parts of the country.
It also comes as Americans consider traveling for spring break. The Transportation Security Administration has screened more than a million passengers a day over the past 7 days, marking the biggest week of air travel in the United States since the pandemic began, according to CNN.
“In last weeks we have seen increase in cases in a number of states; getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to fight against these variants. Again, I need you to get vaccinated when it’s your turn,” Biden said. “I need your help.”
The United States reported 58,480 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 1,173 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. In total, the nation has reported 29,647,726 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 538,738 deaths.
Push to vaccinate farm workers, reimburse for funerals
State officials and advocates are racing to overcome obstacles to vaccinating the nation’s 3 million farm workers before the upcoming harvest season, Politico reports. Many migrant workers are ineligible for the vaccine because of age requirements.
Texas, California, Iowa, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Florida, and Minnesota have had the highest number of cases associated with agricultural workers, and more than 500,000 workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past year.
In other news, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse families of COVID-19 victims for funeral expenses incurred after Jan 20, 2020.
“People who have Covid-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation,” FEMA said in a statement. “We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.”
Other US developments
Three months after COVID-19 vaccines were made available to all members of Congress, 1 in 4 members of the House of Representatives have not yet received shots, according to the Washington Post. The Office of the Attending Physician sent a letter to congressional offices saying vaccination rates need to improve before he will announce any decision to fully reopen the House.
After the Biden administration said yesterday that it is funneling $10 billion to states for schools to increase COVID-19 testing, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told NBC News that vaccination will likely not be mandatory for teachers in order to reopen schools.