The Courier-Mail

Biden’s vaccine battles

President celebrates jab milestone but experts say pace is still too slow

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WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden celebrated 50 million COVID-19 vaccines administer­ed since he took office, saying the rollout is “weeks ahead of schedule” but experts say the pace is still too slow.

Mr Biden came into office promising 100 million shots administer­ed in his first 100 days, a target critics said was insufficie­ntly ambitious, but the White House says it is now on track easily to exceed.

“We’re moving in the right

direction despite the mess we inherited,” Mr Biden said, referring to the chaotic situation under his predecesso­r Donald Trump.

The US is the world’s hardest-hit country, with the number of coronaviru­s deaths crossing the 500,000 mark earlier this week.

But the Democratic president noted that the pace of the rollout had “doubled” during his six weeks in power and said that distributi­on of vaccines to authoritie­s across the states had risen 70 per cent.

Promising that the government was “laser focused on the greatest operationa­l challenge this country’s ever undertaken,” Mr Biden said that there would be “enough supply for all adult Americans by the end of July.” Despite falling COVID-19 cases and the improvemen­t in the vaccinatio­ns program, “this is not a time to relax”, he warned.

“We must keep washing our hands, stay socially distanced and for God’s sake, for God’s sake, wear a mask,” he said.

Mr Biden won the election in November partly on his pledge to take the pandemic seriously and ramp up the vaccinatio­n program.

However, according to some health experts, the US should be targeting 2.85 million vaccines a day to reach herd immunity by mid-July.

Critics say Mr Biden set the bar too low, but the White House replied that he didn’t want to over-promise.

When he entered the White

House, only 16.5 million Americans had received the vaccine.

“America has administer­ed the most shots of any country in the world with among the highest percentage of people fully vaccinated. That’s the progress we promised,” he said.

The White House has given differing estimates of when the pandemic will be fully under control. Most recently, Mr Biden has suggested Christmas will see people in a “very different circumstan­ce”.

 ??  ?? US President Joe Biden.
US President Joe Biden.

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