President Joe Biden said the United States can expect to have more than enough coronavirus vaccine for all adults by the end of May — a promise that is two months earlier than initially expected, according to an ABC News article.
Also, Biden is pushing states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March to quicken school reopenings, the article added.
Biden also announced Tuesday that drugmaker company Merck will help produce competitor Johnson & Johnson’s recently approved one-shot vaccine, comparing the partnership between the two drug companies to the “spirit of national cooperation during World War II,” the article added.
“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden said in the article.
Regardless of the increased pace of vaccine production, the actual work of vaccinating Americans could happen into the summer, officials said, depending on the government’s capacity to deliver doses and Americans’ interest to roll up their sleeves.
It is well known that Black Americans are getting vaccinated at a far lower rate than their white counterparts. In part, one of the reasons why is because of vaccine availability and willingness to receive the vaccine, according to local experts reported here.
Biden’s announcements bring questions about when the nation could safely reopen after the pandemic with the promise of faster vaccinations, but despite his optimism, Biden said that a return to normal life pre-pandemic is not 100%.
“I’ve been cautioned not to give an answer to that because we don’t know for sure,” Biden said, before stating that his optimism for return to normal was sometime before “this time next year.”
States across the country are steadily moving on, however, to relax virus-related restrictions, the article added. This is with the knowledge of the objections of the White House and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who have cautioned against any slowing down of virus protocols until more Americans are vaccinated, the article said.
In Texas, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott lifted his state’s mask-wearing mandate and a number of other limitations. Michigan’s own Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently relaxed capacity limits on restaurants and both public and residential gatherings, which she discussed during a press conference earlier this week.
“As we continue our vaccine rollout and make steady progress against the virus, we are taking additional incremental steps to re-engage to ensure we are protecting our families and frontline workers and saving lives,” said Whitmer during the press conference. “Michigan is a national leader in the fight against COVID-19, and our fact-based, data-driven approach will help our state rebuild our economy and resume normal day-to-day activities. As always, mask up, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus so we can end this pandemic together. One of the most important things Michiganders can do is make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it’s available to you.”
Fauci has previously mentioned that the nation must achieve a vaccination rate of about 80% to reach “herd immunity.” Only about 8% of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though the pace of vaccination has been gaining traction. The U.S. set a new daily record for injections last Thursday and Friday, the article added.
In hopes of increasing vaccinations even further, the Biden administration told governors to make steps to administer even more doses in the coming weeks. More shots are also headed toward the federally-backed program to administer doses in places like retail pharmacies, which federal officials believe can double or triple their pace of vaccination, according to the article.
Over 800,000 doses of the J&J vaccine will also be sent this week to pharmacies, on top of the 2.4 million they are now getting from Pfizer and Moderna.