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Biden’s new deadline: Adults eligible for shot by April 19
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that 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,” Biden said 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 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.
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, also spent the day Tuesday focused on promoting the COVID19 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.