Daily Times (Primos, PA)

Biden makes all adults eligible for a vaccine on April 19

- By Darlene Superville and Alexandra Jaffe

WASHINGTON » President Joe Biden said he’s bumping up his deadline by two weeks for states to make all adults in the U.S. eligible for coronaviru­s vaccines. But even as he expressed optimism about the pace of vaccinatio­ns, he warned Americans that the nation is not yet out of the woods when it comes to the pandemic.

“Let me be deadly earnest with you: We aren’t at the finish line. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re still in a life and death race against this virus,” Biden said Tuesday in remarks at the White House.

The president

warned that “new variants of the virus are spreading and they’re moving quickly. Cases are going back up, hospitaliz­ations are no longer declining.” He added that “the pandemic remains dangerous,” and encouraged Americans to continue to wash their hands, socially distance and wear masks.

Biden added that while his administra­tion is on schedule to meet his new goal of distributi­ng 200 million doses of the vaccine during his first 100 days, it will still take time for enough Americans to get vaccinated to slow the spread of the virus.

But he expressed hope that his Tuesday announceme­nt, that every adult will be eligible by April 19 to sign up and get in a virtual line to be vaccinated, will help expand access and distributi­on of the vaccine. Some states already had begun moving up their deadlines from the original May 1 goal.

“No more confusing rules. No more confusing restrictio­ns,” Biden said.

Biden made the announceme­nt after visiting a COVID-19 vaccinatio­n site at Immanuel Chapel at Virginia Theologica­l Seminary in Alexandria. During his visit, he thanked everyone for administer­ing the shots and for showing up to receive them.

“That’s the way to beat this,” Biden said. “Get the vaccinatio­n when you can.”

The president also said no one should fear mutations of the coronaviru­s that are showing up in the U.S. after being discovered in other countries. He acknowledg­ed that the new strains are more virulent and more dangerous, but said “the vaccines work on all of them.”

Biden also announced that 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been shot into arms since his inaugurati­on on Jan. 20. That puts the president well on track to meet his new goal of 200 million shots administer­ed by his 100th day in office on April 30.

Biden’s original goal had been 100 million shots by the end of his first 100 days, but that number was reached in March.

Still, he acknowledg­ed Tuesday that his administra­tion fell short of its goal to deliver at least one shot to every teacher, school staff member and childcare worker during the month of March, to try to accelerate school reopenings. Biden announced the target early last month and directed federal resources toward achieving it, but said Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about 80% of teachers, school staff and childcare workers had received a shot.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, also spent the day Tuesday focused on promoting the COVID-19 vaccine, each touring a vaccinatio­n center, Harris in Chicago and Emhoff in Yakima, Washington.

Harris praised the workers and those receiving their vaccine at a site set up at a local union hall, and spoke of spring as “a moment where we feel a sense of renewal.”

“We can see a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Some states are making plans to ease their health restrictio­ns, even as the country is facing a potential new surge in virus cases.

On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned that the country is in a “critical time” because “we could just as easily swing up into a surge.”

“That would be a setback for public health, but that would be a psychologi­cal setback, too,” he said during an interview with the National Press Club. He noted that Americans are experienci­ng “COVID-19 fatigue” after more than a year of lockdowns and restrictio­ns to public life aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

Biden and many of his advisers have warned against reopening the economy too quickly and easing mask mandates, at the risk of driving a fresh surge in virus cases.

“We just don’t want to have to go back to really shutting things down. That would be terrible,” Fauci said.

 ?? EVAN VUCCI — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? President Joe Biden talks to a person receiving a COVID-19 vaccinatio­n shot as he visits a vaccinatio­n site at Virginia Theologica­l Seminary, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Alexandria, Va.
EVAN VUCCI — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS President Joe Biden talks to a person receiving a COVID-19 vaccinatio­n shot as he visits a vaccinatio­n site at Virginia Theologica­l Seminary, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Alexandria, Va.

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