Biden Says 'Hope' Is For 1.5 Million Vaccine Shots a Day, General Public Will Have Access by Spring
President Joe Biden said his "hope" is that the U.S. will soon be able to give out 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses a day
Prior to taking office, Biden had promised that his administration would begin administering 100 million doses during his first 100 days, a goal that created some skepticism after the Trump administration struggled to meet its stated target of 20 million doses by the end of 2020, instead inoculating just 2.7 million Americans. But vaccinations picked up after the new year, and the U.S. is now giving out around 1 million a day, and occasionally hitting 1.5 million or more.
"I think with the grace of God . . . we'll be able to get that to 1.5 million a day," Biden told reporters on Monday, according to the Washington Post. He said that 1 million doses a day is still the minimum goal, but "I hope we'll be able to increase as we go along so we'll get to 1.5 million. That's my hope."
Biden also said that he expects that the vaccine will be widely available by the spring, and the country will be more protected in the summer.
"It's going to be a logistical challenge that exceeds anything we've ever tried in this country, but I think we can do that," he said. "I feel confident that by summer we're going to be well on our way to heading toward herd immunity. I feel good about where we're going, and I think we can get it done."
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The vaccine rollout does face obstacles, though. Several states have said that they are running out of vaccine doses and have had to start canceling appointments or delaying second doses. In New York state, officials have said that they've already used 88% of doses, and New York City had to put plans for mass vaccination sites at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium on hold while waiting for more.
Members of the new Biden administration said that they are still trying to understand the U.S.'s vaccine supply.
"I can't tell you how much vaccine we have, and if I can't tell it to you then I can't tell it to the governors and I can't tell it to the state health officials," new Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Fox News Sunday, adding that the lack of information about the vaccine supply is one of the "challenges we've been left with" from the Trump administration.
And on Tuesday, in an update to reporters, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki emphasized that Biden's goal of 1.5 million vaccine doses a day is a "hope," and that 1 million is a more accurate number that they set "based on the recommendations of health and medical experts." Psaki also walked back Biden's claim that the general public will have access to the vaccine by the spring, saying that he "will push his team" to make it possible but that "every American is not going to be eligible this spring."
As of Jan. 26, the U.S. has administered 22,734,243 vaccine doses, according to the CDC. Around 19.2 million people have received their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and 3,346,390 people have been fully vaccinated.
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