President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a new goal of having 200 million Covid vaccination shots being distributed within his first 100 days in office.
“I know it’s ambitious, twice our original goal, but no other country in the world has even come close. Not even close, to what we are doing,” Biden told reporters as he opened his first news conferences as president.
“I believe we can do it.”
As of last Friday, the United States had 100 million coronavirus vaccinations conducted during Biden’s tenure in office. That benchmark — which was set Dec. 8 by Biden as his original target — was reached on his 59th day in office.
Susan Walls of Martinsburg receives her boost dose at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) community vaccination event, as West Virginia’s vaccination rate ranks among highest in world, in Martinsburg, February 25, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
After a slower-than-expected rollout under former President Donald Trump, the pace of vaccinations in the United States has rapidly increased, and has been averaging about 2.5 million doses per day in the past week.
If that vaccination rate is maintained, the 200-million-dose target would be hit in about five weeks, or around April 23 — a full week before Biden would mark 100 days in the White House.
The federal government has a deal with Johnson & Johnson for delivery of 200 million doses. The first half of that order expected by the end of June. Merck is helping to make J&J’s shot, which is a single-dose vaccination.
That is enough to inoculate 300 million Americans, since both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots given three to four weeks apart.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last month approved the deployment of more than 1,000 active-duty troops to help deliver Covid-19 vaccines across the U.S. in an effort to pick up the pace of vaccinations.