President Joe Biden on Monday unveiled another milestone for COVID-19 vaccinations in the US. The president said that 90% of adults will be eligible to get a shot within the next three weeks, setting April 19 as the new target date. To meet this goal, the Biden administration will increase the number of pharmacies in the federal vaccination program and set up more mass vaccinations sites.
“I’m directing my COVID team to ensure there is a vaccine site within five miles of 90% of all Americans by April 19, three weeks from today,” Biden said during a briefing at the White House.
The president previously urged all states to make COVID19 available to all . In total, more than 145 million people have been vaccinated in the US, according to numbers from John Hopkins University, with over 49 million of them fully vaccinated.
Over the next three weeks, the Biden administration will increase the number of pharmacies in the federal vaccine program from 17,000 to nearly 40,000 stores, according to the White House. The government will also open a dozen more federally-run mass vaccinations sites.
But even as vaccinations ramp up, health officials are warning that Americans need to continue to take precautions. On Monday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, talked bluntly about awhen seeing data that shows a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past week.
Biden reiterated that message during his briefing and urged Americans to follow CDC recommendations, such as mask wearing and social distancing, to slow the spread of the virus. Biden also urged state and local officials to maintain or reinstate mask mandates.
“The war against COVID-19 is far from won. This is deadly serious,” Biden said. “If we let our guard down now we could see a virus getting worse, not better.”