Biden says 90% of adults in US will be eligible for vaccination by April 19th

covid-vaccine
Biden Says 90% Of Adults In Us Will Be Eligible For Vaccination By April 19Th
The US government has hit the accelerator on its shipments of Covid-19 vaccines. Photo: PA Images.
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Thomson Reuters

US President Joe Biden said on Monday that 90 per cent of all adults in the United States will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccination by April 19th, as he warned about the potential for an upsurge in infections.

Speaking at the White House, Mr Biden said some of the "reckless behaviour" he had seen on television in recent weeks — a possible reference to scores of college students on spring break vacations in Miami — means more infections will be reported in the days ahead.

He called on local leaders to reinstate mask mandates.

His comments came as the US government has hit the accelerator on its shipments of Covid-19 vaccines after a month of largely stagnant weekly deliveries, giving states the doses they say they need to finish vaccinating priority groups and open shots to all adults in the coming weeks.

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The biggest supply boost has come from Johnson & Johnson. Shipments of the one-shot vaccine had been slow to ramp up since its late February authorisation, as the company waited for regulatory clearance of a key US factory.

Earlier than expected

Pfizer Inc also has boosted output of its vaccine, doubling batch sizes and shortening production time. Moderna said on Monday it has shipped 100 million doses of its vaccine to the United States.

Officials from more than half a dozen states including Vermont, Idaho and New Jersey told Reuters that increased vaccine shipments will allow them to accelerate efforts to inoculate the elderly and frontline workers, and in some cases to open shots to all adult residents earlier than expected.

"The increasing allotment of vaccine by the Biden administration is making it possible for us to speed up our vaccination timetable," said Ben Truman, a spokesman for Vermont's department of public health.

Vermont has now decided to offer vaccines to all adults on April 16th, a month sooner than planned, he said.

The US government boosted its weekly allocations of Covid-19 doses by more than 20 per cent to 27 million last week. That includes four million J&J vaccine doses, up from only a few hundred thousand in weeks prior.

2.5 million daily average

The White House expects that to surge even further over the next week, with plans to deliver around 11 million of the J&J shots. If shipments of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Inc vaccines remain constant, that should put the total number of weekly shots at more than 34 million.

And Pfizer's shipments to states have increased, jumping about 25 per cent last week from the week prior and around 45 per cent since the beginning of the month, according to data from the US Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

The US government has delivered 88 million Moderna shots to locations around the United States to date. Moderna expects to ship another 100 million doses by the end of May and the same amount again by the end of July by delivering 40 to 50 million shots per month.

The United States has been hovering at a seven-day average of around 2.5 million shots in arms each day for most of the second half of March, as the federal government worked to overcome supply bottlenecks.

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