Sourced from the Web by Tracy Cabrera
CAPITOL HILL, WASHINGTON D.C. — Setting a goal shortly after taking office, United States president Joseph Robinette Biden has promised to administer 100 million vaccines by his 100th day in office and in a validating report, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disclosed that about 75.5 million people have already received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 41 million people who have been fully vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or the two-dose series made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
In reaction, the US chief executive has expressed hope that America could “mark independence” from Covid-19 while Americans celebrated their country’s Independence Day on the Fourth of July this year—but only if people get vaccinated.
In his first primetime address as president, Biden said he would order states to make all adults eligible for vaccinations by May 1 even as current measures are prioritizing people by age or health condition.
The Irish-American president was speaking exactly a year to the day after the outbreak was classified a global pandemic. Half a million Americans have since died—more than the death toll from World War One, World War Two and the Vietnam War combined.
In a speech, Biden set a timetable for when small groups could potentially meet again: “If we do this together, by 4 July, there is a good chance you, your family and friends can get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day.”
He predicted that the country would be able to not only celebrate Independence Day but also “independence from this virus.”
With the complexity of the US health system as individual states are in charge of public health policy, the federal government through responsible for getting the vaccine distributed to the states, has largely relied on these states to handle the distribution of the vaccines.
But as part of the plans to expand vaccinations, Biden said the number of places where people could be immunized would be increased, with veterinarians and dentists among those also allowed to vaccinate people. Mobile units will also travel into local communities to provide vaccinations in underserved communities, he said.
The president had previously set a target of 100 million vaccinations by his 100th day in office, but in his latest address, he said this target would be reached on day 60.
He was speaking shortly after signing a US$1.9 trillion economic relief bill, which marks an early legislative victory for his administration. It includes a $1,400 direct payment to most Americans, along with other measures to help people out of poverty and provide additional funding to local and state governments.
Despite the good news on vaccinations, Biden warned that the “fight (against the coronavirus) is far from over.”
He called on people to maintain social distancing measures, hand washing, and wear a mask.
“Beating the virus and getting back to normal relies on national unity,” he stressed.
Last month, Biden said he hoped that life would return to ‘normal” by Christmas 2021 and his chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Stephen Fauci, who is also the top US infectious diseases expert, described Biden’s timetable as ‘reasonable’.
The president’s caution is at odds with some states such as Texas and Mississippi, which are relaxing restrictions in order to boost their economies.
Biden also criticized the previous administration under his predecessor Donald Trump by saying that the virus was initially met with “denials for days, weeks, then months, that led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, more loneliness.”
He also denounced ‘vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans, who he said had been “attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated” for the pandemic. Mr. Trump had erstwhile repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as the ‘China virus’, which could be the possible reason behind the attacks. (AI/MTVN)