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Business News/ News / World/  Joe Biden says 90% of US adults will be eligible for Covid vaccine by 19 April

US President Joe Biden has announced that 90% of adults in the United States will be eligible for a vaccination against Covid-19 and have a vaccination site within 5 miles of their home by April 19, a White House official said.

The move came as America's top public health official pleaded with people to "hold on a little longer" with measures to stop the pandemic, admitting she felt a sense of "impending doom" as data showed the country tipping into another Covid-19 wave.

According to a White House statement, Biden will say his administration is increasing the number of pharmacies in the federal pharmacy vaccination program from 17,000 to nearly 40,000 while creating a dozen more mass vaccination sites by April 19.

Bloomberg first reported that Biden planned to make the announcement.

The US President has previously set a goal of having 200 million vaccine shots in people's arms in his first 100 days in office.

'War against Covid-19 is far from won'

On the nation's fight against Covid-19, the Biden administration celebrated a significant ramp-up in vaccinations while also warned of the "impending doom" of sharply rising case numbers among those yet to be immunized.

President Joe Biden, speaking at the White House, unveiled his new "90-90" plan, saying that 90% of US adults will be eligible to get a Covid-19 shot by April 19, and 90% of the nation will live within five miles of a vaccination site as his administration more than doubles the number of participating pharmacies.

But after celebrating having surpassed vaccination targets, Biden quickly shifted his remarks to the recent rise in cases and warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that some states' decisions to relax public-health rules has jeopardized the nation’s recovery.

"With vaccines, there's hope, which is a very good thing, to state the obvious. But people are letting up on precautions, which is a very bad thing," Biden said. "We're giving up hard-fought, hard-won gains, and as much as we're doing, America, it's time to do even more."

The US is racing to ramp up its inoculation effort before more contagious variants of the virus spread. Several states, including Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia, have lifted restrictions as vaccinations have increased, which risks stoking a resurgence of the pandemic.

"The war against Covid-19 is far from won," Biden said.

Biden doubled his target for vaccines last week after the US reached his initial goal six weeks early. The US is now giving 2.8 million doses daily of Covid-19 vaccine, as the supply increases and states widen eligibility. The country reached a record three-day stretch of 10 million shots over the weekend, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

Roughly three-quarters of vaccines still go directly to states, but Biden has steered a growing share to federal channels, including pharmacies, as supply has increased. That shift has allowed Biden to target disadvantaged zip codes as he tries to address disparities in access, often along racial lines.

Biden has said the US will have enough supply by the end of May to vaccinate all US adults, though administering the shots could take longer. Until recently, eligibility was typically based on age or whether a person had underlying medical conditions that put them at greater risk. Full adult eligibility means anyone 16 or older can get the shot, regardless of medical history.

Biden has pledged to administer 200 million shots in total under his presidency by the end of next month and is on pace to do that.

Biden also announced $100 million in funding to help vaccinate vulnerable and at-risk older adults, and people with disabilities. The program would be aimed at getting those high-risk people scheduled for, and taken to, vaccine appointments, including those with mobility challenges.

The US vaccine effort is buoyed by vast supplies. The administrations of Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, have used wartime powers to prioritize US government orders.

Biden has said the US will begin sharing shots with other nations once it has enough to cover all US adults, including the potential need for booster shots and a stockpile for children, given the uncertainty over which vaccines will be best for younger age groups.

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Updated: 30 Mar 2021, 05:57 AM IST
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