Biden says US on pace to hit his administration's goal of 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots on Friday
By Maegan Vazquez, Jeremy Diamond and Kate Sullivan, CNN
(CNN) -- President Joe Biden said in Thursday remarks that the US is expected to hit his administration's target of 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered to American arms on Friday.
The President had initially set out his goal of administering 100 million doses within his first 100 days in office, but last week during a national prime time address Biden said his administration was on track to reach that goal by his 60th day in office.
A total of 115,730,730 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the United States since the first Covid-19 vaccine was authorized for emergency use in December, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biden said he would announce his administration's new goal of administering Covid-19 vaccines next week.
"This is a time for optimism but it's not a time for relaxation," Biden cautioned Americans.
"I need all of you to do your part. Wash your hands, stay socially distanced, keep masking up as recommended by the CDC and get vaccinated when it's your turn," the President said.
Biden said 65% of people aged 65 or older had received at least one Covid-19 shot, up from 8% when Biden took office eight weeks ago. The President said 36% of that age group had been fully vaccinated.
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 speech 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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