The United States is on track to hit President Joe Biden’s goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans against coronavirus on Friday, just 58 days after his inauguration. In an update provided Thursday, Biden said that while the number is encouraging, the country still has much work to do before it can declare victory against the virus.
“Tomorrow, we will hit 100 million doses our administration has administered,” Biden said. “I’ve always said that’s just the floor, we will not stop until we beat this pandemic. Next week I’ll announce our next goal to put shots in arms.”
Biden said current data reflects that 65% of people ages 65 and older in the U.S. have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 36% of this population are fully vaccinated. He said reaching this level is key as “this is the population that represents 80% of the well over 500,000 COVID-19 deaths in America.”
Biden said the country’s current pace of administering 2.5 million shots per day outpaces the rest of the world “significantly,” and credited ramped up manufacturing and federal programs like the pharmacy program and mass vaccination centers for helping the nation achieve his initial goal.
He said that while touring a site with Vice President Kamala Harris, a nurse had said that “each shot was like administering a dose of hope,” and that behind those 100 million shots administered are “millions of lives changed when people receive that dose of hope.”
Still, as states rollback mask mandates and begin to loosen restrictions, he cautioned against letting up too quickly.
“This is a time for optimism, but not a time for relaxation,” he said. “I need all Americans to do your part by washing your hands, stay socially distanced, keep masking up as recommended by the CDC and get vaccinated when it’s your turn. Now is not the time to let down our guard.”
Echoing both Drs. Anthony Fauci and Rochelle Walensky, Biden cited concern over variants and the threat they pose to ground gained against the virus.
“Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to fight back against these variants,” he said. “While millions of people are vaccinated, we need millions more to get vaccinated. I need your help. I need you to help, not just the country, but your family, your friends, your neighbors, get them vaccinated as well.”