President Joe Biden announced a new goal on Thursday to distribute 200 million Covid vaccine shots within his first 100 days in office.
“I know it’s ambitious, twice as much as our original goal, but no other country in the world has come anywhere near what we’re doing,” Biden told reporters as he opened his first press conference as president .
“I think we can do it.”
Last Friday, 100 million coronavirus vaccinations were given in the United States during Biden’s tenure. That benchmark, set as his original target by Biden on December 8, was hit on his 59th day in office.
Susan Walls of Martinsburg receives her boost dose at a vaccination event in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) community, as the vaccination rate in West Virginia is among the highest in the world on February 25, 2021 in Martinsburg.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
After a slower-than-expected introduction under former President Donald Trump, the pace of vaccination in the US has increased rapidly, receiving an average of 2.5 million doses per day over the past week.
If this vaccination rate is maintained, the 200 million dose target would be met in about five weeks or around April 23 – a full week before Biden would mark 100 days at the White House.
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The federal government has signed a contract with Johnson & Johnson to supply 200 million cans. The first half of this order is expected by the end of June. Merck is helping make J & J’s Shot, which is a single-dose vaccine.
The government has also signed contracts with drug makers Pfizer and Moderna for a total of 600 million doses.
That’s enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans, as both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots three to four weeks apart.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last month approved the deployment of more than 1,000 active troops to support the dispensing of Covid-19 vaccines in the US to speed up the pace of vaccinations.