Biden Announces More Steps to Speed Up COVID Vaccinations
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WASHINGTON — President Biden on Monday announced several more steps aimed at increasing the pace of COVID-19 vaccination.

“My fellow Americans, look at what we have done in the past 10 weeks,” he said in a livestream address. “No other country has come close to 100 million shots in less than 60 days, and now we’re moving to the next 100 million shots in just 40 days. But as I’ve also said … our work is far from over. The war against COVID-19 is far from won.”

He announced several steps to speed up vaccinations, including:

  • Distributing vaccines to more pharmacies. “We’re going to do this by growing from having 17,000 pharmacies giving out vaccination shots to nearly 40,000 pharmacies, and doing it within the next 3 weeks; that will more than double the number of pharmacies where you can go get vaccinated,” he said.
  • Setting up more mass vaccination sites. “In the next 3 weeks, we will add 12 more federally run mass vaccination sites,” said Biden. “Every day at these sites, tens of thousands of people are able to drive up, get a vaccine shot while in their car, and leave in less than an hour.” He noted that “over 60% of the shots given at these sites goes to minority communities, because they’re in minority communities … They’re the ones most affected by both the vaccine, but also by the pandemic.”
  • Making it easier for seniors and the disabled to get vaccinated. “We know that there are a number of seniors and people with disabilities who may be isolated and have lack of access to transportation,” said Biden. “And there are community groups that can help — they’re trying to help now — so I’m sending out millions of dollars through the Department of Health and Human Services to provide assistance, including transportation, so more vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities can get their shots…. We cannot let transportation be a barrier to any senior getting a vaccination.”

The efforts to increase the pharmacy distribution and mass vaccination sites are part of a larger administration goal. “To make it easier for Americans to get vaccinated as the supply grows and vaccination eligibility expands, I’m directing my COVID team to ensure there is a vaccine site within 5 miles of 90% of all Americans by April 19th — 3 weeks from today,” Biden said. He added that “at least 90% of all adults in this country will be eligible to be vaccinated” on that same date, “because we have vaccines.”

President Biden said he wants to move to “90/90” by April 19th — 90% of adults eligible for vaccination, and 90% of adults living within 5 miles of a vaccination site. (Photo courtesy White House livestream)

So “we’re moving toward 90/90 by April 19th,” he added. “That is, by April 19th — 3 weeks from today — 90% of adult people that are 18 and over will be eligible to get vaccinated, and 90% of all Americans will be living within 5 miles of a place they can get a shot,” although they may not get an appointment right away.

But even with all the good news, Biden expressed concern about recent trends in coronavirus cases and deaths. “Cases have fallen two-thirds since I took office; deaths have also fallen two-thirds … Now cases are going back up. In some states, deaths are as well.” In addition, “new variants are spreading, and sadly, some of the reckless behavior we’ve seen on television over the past few weeks means that more new cases are to come in the weeks ahead,” he said.

Biden pointed out that COVID-19 deaths are still averaging nearly 1,000 a day. “As much as we’re doing, America, it’s time to do even more,” he said. “All of us have to do our part, every one of us…. Wash your hands, stay socially distanced, wear a mask as recommended by the CDC. And get vaccinated; get your friends and family vaccinated when you can help.”

“Now’s not the time to let down; now is not the time to celebrate,” he concluded. “It is time to do what we do best as a country, our duty, our jobs, take care of one another, and fight this to the finish. We can and will do this, but don’t let up now.”

  • Joyce Frieden oversees MedPage Today’s Washington coverage, including stories about Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, healthcare trade associations, and federal agencies. She has 35 years of experience covering health policy. Follow

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