President Joe Biden targets 1.5 million Covid vaccinations a day, up from 1 million

President Joe Biden makes remarks before signing a “Made in America” ​​executive order on January 25, 2021 in the Auditorium of the South Court at the White House in Washington, DC.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden said Monday the United States could hit 1.5 million Covid-19 vaccinations per day, surpassing its previously targeted pace of 1 million per day, which the Trump administration has already neared.

Biden has pledged to give 100 million shots of coronavirus vaccine in his first 100 days in office, which equates to a rate of 1 million shots a day.

“That is my promise that we will get 100 million vaccinations,” he said on Monday. “I think if the grace of God and the goodwill of the neighbor and the fools don’t rise as the old saying goes, we can maybe bring that to 1.5 million a day instead of 1 million a day, but we have to target that of a million a day. “

Some public health professionals criticized Biden’s promise to give 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days in office as being too modest. By the time Biden took over the presidency last week, the US was well on its way to the necessary pace of 1 million shots a day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US exceeded an average of 1.1 million vaccinations per day for seven days on Sunday.

And with the expected launch of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine next month, the Biden administration is now saying the pace of 1 million shots a day is more of a floor than a target. The two currently approved vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses to achieve maximum protection against the virus. The potential approval of JNJ’s one-time vaccine could significantly accelerate the mass effort.

But just last week, Biden rejected the idea that the goal of 100 million vaccinations in 100 days might be too low a threshold, claiming he was told before he took office that the target might be too high.

“I find it fascinating that yesterday the press asked, ‘Is 100 million enough?’ The week before they said, “Biden, are you crazy? You can’t make 100 million in 100 days, “said the President on Friday.” God willing, we will not just do 100 million, we will do more than that. “

Biden said Monday that the administration is working to increase the number of people who administer the shots, increase production of the cans, and create more facilities where people can schedule appointments and get their vaccinations.

“Time is of the essence,” he said. “We are trying to get at least 100 million vaccinations in 100 days and move in the next 100 days where we are way beyond that to get to the point where we can get herd immunity in a country.” of over 300 million people. “

His change of tune reflects comments made by White House Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anthony Fauci, who served in the Trump administration, handed in this weekend. Fauci said Sunday that Biden’s goal of 100 million doses in 100 days was not a final number.

“It’s really a floor, not a ceiling,” Fauci told CBS’s Face The Nation program. “It’s going to be a challenge. I think it was a sensible goal that was set. We always want to do better than the goal you set.”

With a limited dose offer, states are still rationing life-saving recordings and setting a wide variety of approval parameters. The Trump administration, and now the White House in Biden, have encouraged both states to quickly move through the eligibility stages in an attempt to expand the population able to receive the vaccines.

Biden said Monday from a reporter when the US will get to the point where anyone who wants to get the vaccines will be able to, Biden said this spring. But he added it would be “a logistical challenge that surpasses anything we’ve ever tried in this country.”

“I am confident that by the summer we will be well on the way to achieving herd immunity,” he said.

But even when Biden voiced a more aggressive target for the vaccination campaign, he added Monday that the US “will see between 600,000 and 660,000 deaths before we start turning the corner in the right direction”.

And the president painted an even gloomier picture last week, saying, “There is nothing we can do to change the course of the pandemic over the next few months.”

– CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.

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