Nearly 3 million doses were administered on 12 March, one year and a day since the World Health Organisation’s declaration of a pandemic, as the US averages 2.2 million daily doses under the Joe Biden administration’s expanding inoculation efforts.
More than 35 million Americans, or more than 10 per cent of the total population, have now been fully vaccinated, while another 66 million people have received at least one dose.
White House Covid-19 adviser Jeff Zients told reporters on Friday that 65 per cent of Americans ages 65 and older have received at least the first of two vaccine shots.
Mr Biden had set a goal of 100 million vaccinations within his first 100 days in office.
The president announced on Thursday that the administration will instruct all state and local governments to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults by 1 May. The White House anticipates there will be enough doses in the nation’s vaccine supply – supported by two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna and a one-shot drug from Johnson & Johnson – to fully vaccinate all American adults by the end of that month, although it’s not likely that all eligible Americans will have received a dose by then.
Mr Zientz said on Friday that Moderna and Pfizer are both expected to deliver 200 million more doses each by the end of May. Those companies have pledged a combined 600 million doses through July, enough doses to immunise 300 million people.
“That is more than enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all adult Americans by the end of May,” he said. “Now we need to ramp up the number of vaccinators, as we’ve been talking about, and the number of places where Americans can get vaccinated.”
On Wednesday, the president also announced plans to secure 100 million additional Johnson & Johnson doses.
With the passage of a White House-backed $1.9 trillion relief package, the federal government will more than double the number of retail pharmacies, community health centres and FEMA-supported sites that distribute vaccines, along with boosting aid in the production of vaccine-related materials and enlisting more vaccinators, among other initiatives to support state and local governments to speed up inoculations.
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