Joe Biden will order states to make every adult eligible for a coronavirus vaccination by May 1, with the aim of bringing the country closer to normal by the Independence Day holiday, said Thursday of senior administration officials.
The new target set by the White House reflects a much more optimistic assessment of America’s ability to bring the pandemic under control than previously stated by the US president.
Last month, the president would not pledge to return to normal until Christmas, citing uncertainty over how quickly the administration could speed up its vaccination campaign.
Biden will announce the new target during his first prime-time televised address to the nation since taking office in January.
“He will communicate to Americans that if we all do our part, there is a good chance that families, friends and neighbors can come together in small groups to celebrate Independence Day on July 4,” said a senior administration official.
“The next phase of our wartime efforts will help us get closer to normal by July 4, Independence Day,” they added.
Biden is expected to speak for about 20 minutes at 8 p.m., after signing his $ 1.9 billion stimulus bill earlier today to mitigate the economic fallout from the pandemic.
The US president has tried to speed up the country’s vaccination campaign and has previously said he expects there will be enough stocks of injections to vaccinate every adult by the end of May.
But on Thursday, he will go even further by ordering all states, territories and tribes to make every adult eligible for a shot by May 1.
Senior administration official said Biden will “use his authorities through” the US Department of Health and Human Services to compel states to comply with call to expand eligibility by target date .
In a backgrounder released ahead of the speech, the administration said: “The White House Covid-19 response team concluded that our accelerated vaccination efforts will allow priority vaccinations to be sufficiently advanced by by the end of April so that all vaccination eligibility restrictions can be lifted by May 1. “
The White House also said it would increase the number of active soldiers involved in supporting vaccination efforts by 4,000, bringing the total to 6,000. And that will expand the pool of professionals who can administer the injections to include dentists. , optometrists, midwives, veterinarians, and medical and nursing students.
Biden’s goal of achieving some semblance of normalcy in America reflects much less caution about the Covid-19 situation compared to last month, when the president said at a public meeting in Wisconsin that it would take until the end of the year for big improvements.
“As my mother would say, with the grace of God and the goodwill of the neighbors, that by next Christmas I think we will be in a very different situation, God willing, than we are today” , said the president at the time. .
Biden had set a goal of reaching 100 million coronavirus vaccinations in the United States during his first 100 days in office, and is well ahead of that goal. The United States has now administered 95.7 million shots, since the first vaccination in mid-December, when Donald Trump was still president.