U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks about his plan to administer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines to the U.S. population during a news conference at Biden’s transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, January 15, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
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 come close … to what we’re doing,” Biden told reporters as he opened his first news conference as president.
“I believe we can do it.”
As of Friday, 100 million coronavirus vaccinations had been given since Biden was inaugurated. That benchmark — which Biden set as his original target Dec. 8 — was reached on his 59th day in office.
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, Biden’s 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.