By May 1, people over 16 in nearly every state will be able to make an appointment to get their COVID-19 vaccine
Jeff Zients, President Biden’s COVID-19 czar, announced that 46 states and Washington, D.C. are expanding eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine to all adults by May 1.
The news comes as nearly half of U.S. will have opened vaccinations to all adults by April 15, putting them two weeks ahead of the May 1 deadline that Biden announced in early March. While this is much needed good news for all who have yet to receive or be eligible for the vaccine, Biden’s team said it’s not the time for people to let their guard down.
“It’s clear there is a case for optimism, but there is not a case for relaxation,” Zients 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.” Americans must be diligent.
Biden echoed that sentiment on Monday. “If we let our guard down now, we could still see the virus getting worse, not better,” he said. “We’re giving up hard-fought, hard-won gains. As much as we’re doing, America, we have to be doing more.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also said Monday that the steady rise in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths left her with a sense of “impending doom.” Travel over Spring Break and the Easter holiday upcoming may also impact the number of cases significantly in the next few weeks.
Biden announced Monday that 90% of all adults will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by April 19. But the rollout of those vaccinations and ability to get appointments means it will still be some time before they are actually fully vaccinated. Because of this, Biden is also urging states that have lifted mask mandates to revert back immediately.
“Please, this is not politics,” he said. “Reinstate the mandate if you let it down.”
Biden’s team is committed to getting people appointments. He has also committed to expanding the number of pharmacies that can administer the vaccine. By April 19, there will be 12 more federally run vaccination sites, and his COVID team will be locating vaccination sites within five miles of 90% of Americans, making it easier to find and make appointments.
The outlook for the country is on a positive path forward. Biden has doubled his original goal of available vaccines, now touting 200 million doses of the vaccine in his first 100 days as the goal. More than 145 million vaccine doses have been administered so far, according to the CDC.
We’re making progress but everyone has to continue to do their part to prevent the spread of the virus.