Biden marks 50M vaccine doses in first 5 weeks in office

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Days after marking a solemn milestone for the pandemic, President Joe Biden is celebrating the pace of his efforts to end it.

On Thursday, Biden marked the administration of the 50 millionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine since being sworn in. The time has come days after the country hit the devastating milestone of 500,000 coronavirus deaths and ahead of a meeting with the country’s governors on plans to accelerate distribution even further.

“The more people get vaccinated, the faster we will beat this pandemic,” Biden said at the White House ceremony, noting that his administration is on track to exceed its promise to deliver 100 million vaccines during its lifetime. First 100 days in power. .

“We’re halfway there: 50 million shots in 37 days,” Biden said. “It’s weeks ahead of schedule.”

In total, more than 45 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccines approved by Pfizer and Moderna since they received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in December, and more than 20 million have received both. required doses.

As part of the ceremony, four frontline workers – a pair of emergency medical technicians, a school counselor and a grocery store worker – received doses of the vaccine on live television, as part of the efforts of the White House to build confidence in the immunization program.

Biden noted that by the end of spring there will be enough vaccine to give to anyone who wants it, but hesitation about the vaccine will limit the number of people who want it. “We will have the vaccine on hold,” Biden said, predicting that point could occur within 60 to 90 days.

He pledged a “massive campaign to educate people” on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, hoping to stimulate demand as the nation aims to vaccinate around 80% of adults to achieve herd immunity and end the pandemic.

Biden said he plans to visit a vaccination run by the US military site in Houston on Friday.

Biden noted the promise of a third vaccine receiving approval as early as this weekend, as Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose candidate undergoes FDA review.

“We have a plan to roll it out as quickly as Johnson & Johnson can,” Biden said.

Still Biden warned that the variants could continue to spread, leading to more cases and hospitalizations. He called on Americans to follow social distancing measures and cover their faces.

“Now is not the time to relax,” he said.

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