Biden announces when to deliver enough COVID-19 vaccine to all adults in US

The United States President, Joe Biden on Tuesday said the US expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccine for all adults by the end of May, which is two months earlier than anticipated.

He further asked the states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of May to hasten school reopening.

The President also announced that drug maker Merck will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved one-shot vaccine, likening the partnership between the two drug companies to the spirit of national cooperation during World War II.

“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden said.

But officials have said, that despite the stepped-up pace of vaccine production, the work of inoculating Americans could extend well into the summer and this will depend both on the government’s capacity to deliver doses and Americans’ willingness to go for the vaccination.

Biden’s announcements quickly raised expectations for when the nation could safely emerge from the pandemic with the promise of speedier vaccinations, but even as he expressed optimism, Biden quickly tempered the outlook for a return to life as it was before the virus hit.

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“I’ve been cautioned not to give an answer to that because we don’t know for sure,” Biden said, before saying his hope for a return to normal was sometime before “this time next year.”

However, while Biden was speaking on the issue, some states across the country were moving to relax virus-related restrictions, despite the objections of the White House and the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, who have warned against any relaxation of virus protocols until more Americans are vaccinated.

In Texas for instance, Governor Greg Abbott moved to lift his state’s mask-wearing mandate and a host of other limitations. 

While Michigan’s Democratic Governor, Gretchen Whitmer eased capacity limits on restaurants and both public and residential gatherings.

Dr Fauci has previously said the nation must achieve a vaccination rate of about 80 per cent to reach “herd immunity.”

At the moment only about 8 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though the pace of vaccination has been increasing. The US set a new daily record for injections last Thursday and Friday.

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Biden administration told governors to make preparations to administer even more doses in the coming weeks. 

More shots are also headed toward the federally backed program to administer doses in retail pharmacies, which federal officials believe can double or triple their pace of vaccination.

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