Biden administration oversees swift vaccination campaign as coronavirus cases rise due to COVID-19 variants.
President Joe Biden is set to announce that he will shave about two weeks off his May 1 deadline for states to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines.
Biden will make the announcement at the White House on Tuesday following a visit to a vaccination site at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia.
A White House official confirmed Biden plans to announce that every adult in the United States will be eligible to be vaccinated by April 19, the Associated Press said on Tuesday. It was first reported by CNN.
The federal government has significantly ramped up the pace of vaccinations as it works to end the COVID-19 pandemic. States with limited vaccine supply initially limited early doses to higher risk groups, such as the elderly.
Biden initially set a goal of delivering 100 million jabs into people’s arms within his first 100 days in office.
The goal has since been doubled to 200 million shots by his 100th day, which is April 29.
COVID-19 has killed more than 555,000 people in the US, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally, but more than 167 million doses have been administered in the country. Four in 10 Americans have had at least one vaccine dose, a rate far ahead of most countries.
The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines used in the US require two doses. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, also being used, requires one dose.
Biden announced just last week that 90 percent of adults would be eligible for one of three approved vaccines by April 19, in addition to having a vaccination site within 8km (five miles) of where they live.
The White House official spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity to discuss Biden’s plans before the formal announcement.
The news comes after roughly 15 million Johnson & Johnson doses were ruined due to “human error” at a plant in Maryland last Wednesday.
Even as the US continues its quick vaccination campaign, US coronavirus cases and hospitalisations are on the rise.
New COVID-19 mutations are the driving force for the increase, which is largely occurring among younger adults, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr Rochelle Walensky.
“As the trends and data have been indicating, cases are increasing nationally and we are seeing this occur predominantly in younger adults … these increases are due in part to more highly transmissible variants which we are closely monitoring,” Walensky said at a Monday news conference.