President Joe Biden said Tuesday the United States would have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for every adult American by the end of May, dramatically accelerating his timeline but acknowledging the country must still be vigilant against the virus, CNN reported.
He also announced he would direct states to prioritize teachers in their vaccination plans, reemphasizing a commitment to returning students to classrooms amid a confusing administration stance on when and how classrooms can reopen.
The new date does not mean all Americans would receive shots by May 31; issues with distribution and personnel mean it could take much longer for all doses to be administered.
But the speedier estimate, helped along by a new partnership between major US drugmakers, makes for an optimistic target as millions of Americans wait to receive their first doses. The timeline speeds up by two months the administration’s previous goal of having enough shots by the end of July.
“That’s progress,” Biden said in remarks from the White House, warning there could still be delays in getting shots in Americans’ arms and suggesting the country would not return to full normalcy for much longer.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now to ensure victory is inevitable, we can’t assume that. We must remain vigilant, act fast and aggressively and look out for one another. That’s how we’re going to get ahead of this virus, get our economy going again and get back to our loved ones,” Biden said.
In his remarks, Biden announced that Merck would help manufacture a recently authorized vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, which allowed for the new May goal.