You have to give the Biden administration credit—as it appears the new president is doing his very best to pull the country out of the pandemic that, for nearly a year, has kept us locked in and mourning the deaths of loved ones killed by the coronavirus.
On Tuesday, the president announced that there will be enough vaccines for every adult in the country by the end of May. The pledge surpasses Biden’s earlier aim of having enough doses available for the American population by July, according to the New York Times.
Biden said the FDA’s recent authorization of a third vaccine by Johnson & Johnson will help ramp up inoculations, particularly given a brand new partnership that the White House has brokered between Johnson & Johnson and the pharmaceutical company Merck to expand production of the single-dose vaccine.
“As a consequence of the stepped-up process that I’ve ordered and just outlined, this country will have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” said Biden. “That’s progress—important progress.”
According to the Times, the Trump administration had also considered enlisting Merck’s help with producing the COVID-19 vaccines developed by other companies, but the Biden White House emphasized its own role in actually bringing the deal to fruition.
“When I came into office, the prior administration had contracted for not nearly enough vaccines to cover adults in America. We rectified that,” Biden said in his remarks.
The president also announced a federal effort to prioritize the vaccination of K-12 teachers, school staff and childcare workers all throughout March, so that schools can safely re-open.
A little over 15 percent of the American population has received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Half of that share has been fully vaccinated.
The vaccination effort will likely continue to bump up against a number of Americans who are hesitant to receive the doses. And despite the much-covered issue of Black Americans questioning the vaccine given the legacy of systemic racism in healthcare, a recent poll by Civiqs found that white Americans—and white Republicans especially—are now far more likely than other groups to say they will not take a coronavirus vaccine.
Long story short—even as more of us start getting access to the vaccines and preparing for a (hopefully) more free summer, it’s probably prudent to still keep wearing our masks.
Still, imagine what summer could be...