President Joe Biden took a cautious victory lap in his quest to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control, announcing that 300 million vaccine shots have been administered in the 150 days since he took office.
Biden credited scientists, companies, the American people and his whole-of-government effort on the milestone. The president noted that 65 per cent of adults have received at least one shot, setting the stage for most Americans to have a relatively normal summer as businesses reopen and employers hire.
The White House said its whole-of-government approach to the vaccination effort has put the virus in retreat, which in turn has brought Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths to their lowest levels in more than a year. But Biden noted in his remarks that some communities in states with lower vaccination rates are seeing cases and hospitalizations increase.
Overall, about 168 million American adults, or 65.1 per cent of the US population 18 years and older, have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as of Friday, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
As part of the administration’s vaccination push, Vice President Kamala Harris travelled to Atlanta on Friday to tour a pop-up Covid-19 vaccination site at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor until his assassination in 1968. The current senior pastor is US Sen Raphael Warnock.
Harris also spoke at a COVID-19 vaccination mobilization event at Clark Atlanta University, a historically Black school. She told students they “have the power to end this pandemic” by giving people information about the multitude of resources, such as free car rides and child care, that are available to help them get vaccinated.
Restrictions that were put in place to stop the spread of the virus are being rolled back every day across the nation and more and more Americans are returning to their pre-pandemic lifestyles. But federal health officials warn that unvaccinated people can continue to spread the virus and more transmissible new variants could accelerate the spread. The Biden administration is racing to get more of the eligible population vaccinated to try to prevent the rise and spread of even more concerning new variants.