Biden Sets April 19 Target to Open Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccines
- April 09, 2021
President Biden is calling for all adults in the United States to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination by April 19. Biden previously set a May 1 as the date for opening up eligibility nationwide, but most states already have met or are well on their way to meeting the earlier target.
“[B]y no later than April 19th, in every part of this country, every adult over the age of 18—18 or older—will be eligible to be vaccinated. No more confusing rules. No more confusing restrictions,” Biden said.
Earlier in the day, Biden toured a vaccination clinic in Alexandria, VA, touting the nation surpassing 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in his first 75 days in office. Biden set a goal of 200 million shots by the 100th day of his administration, a target that seems well within reach given the recent pace of vaccination effort.
Biden said the United States is now administering an average of 3 million shots per day, or more than 20 million shots weekly.
“We’re the first country to administer 150 million shots and the first country to fully vaccinate over 62 million people,” Biden said. According to Biden, more than 75% of individuals over the age of 65 have been vaccinated, while an estimated 80% of the nation’s teachers, administrators, and childcare workers received at least one shot by the end of March.
Despite the uptick in vaccinations, Biden cautioned that with rising case numbers and hospitalization rates, as well as the threat of more transmissible variants, now is not the time to rollback precautions like mask wearing and social distancing.
Biden also urged seniors who haven’t been vaccinated to do so. Biden said the administration will be helping to ramp up transportation to vaccination sites for seniors and those with disabilities.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced April 7 that the agency is opening up the COVID-19 vaccine program to more community health centers in an effort to ensure the nation’s underserved communities are equitably vaccinated.
The voluntary program started in February with 250 select health centers and was expanded to an additional 700 health centers that were invited to participate. With the latest announcement, an additional 520 health centers that operate over 2,500 service delivery sites will now be eligible, HHS said.
"Increasing access to vaccines among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is critical. By adding to the number of community health centers participating in this program, we will help make sure shots are getting to those who need them most," said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. "The medical professionals at these local health centers already have trusted relationships in these communities, and this expansion will ensure every community health center in the country can be a part of our vaccination effort."