Biden highlights COVID vaccination as US nears 100 million shots under his administration

ByMaegan Vazquez and Jeremy Diamond, CNN, CNNWire
Thursday, March 18, 2021
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U.S. officials are targeting COVID vaccine hesitancy as rollout expands and several states rush to reopen.

WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden highlighted his administration's push to dramatically expand distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. That comes as the nation is on the cusp of meeting his goal of injecting 100 million doses in his first 100 days in office.

President Joe Biden on Thursday will address the progress his administration has made to reach his goal of getting 100 million coronavirus vaccines into the arms of Americans within his first 100 days in office, a White House official tells CNN.

The US is on the cusp of reaching that 100 million vaccine milestone before Biden hits 60 days in office -- which the President set as the new goal during a national primetime address last week.

More than 113 million coronavirus doses have been administered in the US to date, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those doses, more than 96 million have been administered since Biden took office on January 20.

The number of daily COVID-19 cases has continued to decline since a peak in mid-January. But COVID-19 cases are rising by more than 10% in 14 states this week compared to last week, with half of those states rising by more than 20%. One month ago, on February 17, there were only three states showing increases of 10% or more.

Biden's upcoming progress report comes as the White House races to prevent and prepare for a potential fourth coronavirus surge and more transmissible coronavirus variants spread across the US.

In preparation for such a surge, the White House is investing billions of dollars to boost coronavirus preparedness, accelerating the pace of vaccinations and working to prepare the public and governors.

And in what would be a first, the White House is drawing up plans to surge vaccines to emerging hotspots in an attempt to blunt the virus' trajectory and protect those at highest risk, two senior administration officials told CNN earlier this week.

The President launched a series of efforts last week to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations across the country, with the most notable being Biden's commitment to directing all states to open COVID-19 vaccinations to all adults by May 1. The President had previously announced that the US would have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for every adult American by the end of May, two months ahead of the administration's schedule.

In addition to the May 1 directive, Biden said during his address that the administration would also roll out tools after May 1 to help Americans locate places to get a vaccine. He also underscored the need to accelerate the reopening of schools and said the administration plans to issue further guidance on what people can and cannot do once fully vaccinated.

This week, Mississippi became the second state to open up vaccines to all residents aged 16 and older. At least five more states say they're on track to open up vaccinations to anyone 16 years or older by or before April 5.

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