President Biden announced Monday that 90% of all American adults will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by April 19, about two weeks before May 1, the date he had previously set as the goal. But Mr. Biden on Monday also warned Americans “don’t let up now” amid rising COVID-19 infection rates, and called on governors who have lifted mask mandates to reinstate them.
“If we let our guard down now, we could still see the virus getting worse, not better,” Mr. Biden said Monday. “We’re giving up hard-fought, hard-won gains. As much as we’re doing, America, we have to be doing more.”
Mr. Biden echoed comments from Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who warned earlier Monday that the steady rise in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths has left her with a sense of “impending doom.”
“We’re giving up hard fought, hard won gains,” he said. “As much as we’re doing, America, it’s time to do even more. All of us have to do our part, every one of us.”
Mr. Biden urged Americans not to let up on mitigation measures and implored governors and local officials to reinstate mask mandates to head off another surge.
“Please, this is not politics,” he said. “Reinstate the mandate if you let it down.”
“Our work is far from over. The war against COVID-19 is far from won. This is deadly serious,” he said.
But Mr. Biden on Monday also touted the fact that 100 million vaccine doses had been administered well ahead of his original goal of 100 days. He has since doubled his goal to 200 million doses of the vaccine in his first 100 days. More than 145 million vaccine doses have been administered so far, according to the CDC.
To help more Americans access the vaccine, Mr. Biden said he is directing his COVID team to locate vaccination sites within 5 miles of 90% of all Americans. The White House is expanding the number of pharmacies that can administer the vaccine, and by April 19, there will be 12 more federally run vaccination sites.
Mr. Biden’s announcement came shortly after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state would be opening up vaccine eligibility for all residents age 30 and over starting Tuesday and for all residents 16 and older on April 16. Most states have announced plans to meet or beat Mr. Biden’s goal of making all adults eligible by May 1.