A record number of COVID-19 vaccine doses are being administered in the U.S. each day, speeding up the predicted timeline for opening up appointments to the entire adult population.
During a Friday press briefing, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said that more than half of states — 26 — will open up eligibility to all adults by April 15.
Fourteen of the 26 have already opened eligibility to all adults, or will in the coming week, and 12 additional states are expected to open by April 15. In all, 46 total states plus the District of Columbia have announced plans to open up eligibility no later than May 1.
Previously, President Joe Biden set a goal of providing 100 million shots during his first 100 days in office. Having surpassed that goal, the White House is now aiming for 200 million.
"With 200 million shots in the first 100 days, more than half of all adult Americans will have gotten at least one shot by April 29th," Zients said. "No one even contemplated reaching this goal a few months ago. But it is now possible, because of the aggressive actions we have taken, to get more vaccine supply, more vaccinators in the field, and more places for people to get vaccinated."
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He added that reaching that goal will require keeping up the pace of vaccinating around 2.5 million Americans per day — "the equivalent of vaccinating a sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium 50 times a day or the entire population of the city of Houston in just one day," he said.
As of Friday, 71 percent of those aged 65 and over had received at least one shot, according to Zients. In total, more than one-third of all adults had had at least one dose and more 47 million total adult Americans were fully vaccinated.
"We will need to continue to build on this progress to meet our new goal of 200 million shots in the first 100 days," Zients said. "And thanks to resources of the American Rescue Plan, we have the resources to scale up activity, fully implement this strategy, and put the pandemic behind us."
Still, Zients cautioned that Americans must still be diligent in wearing masks and social distancing throughout the vaccine effort.
"It's clear there is a case for optimism, but there is not a case for relaxation," he said. "This is not the time to let down our guard. We need to follow the public health guidance, wear a mask, socially distance, and get a vaccine when it's your turn."
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