Joe Biden will announce a new goal of 200 million COVID vaccine shots in the arms of Americans in his first 100 days in office on Thursday.
The president will make the announcement at his first presidential press conference, NBC News reported.
Biden hit his original benchmark of 100 million shots last Friday, his 59th day in office. It was a target critics called too low. At the current pace of 2.5 million shots a day, the administration is on track to hit the 200 million mark by April 30th, his 100th day in office.
Ahead of the president announcement, the White House announced Thursday it will spend $10 billion to convince people to get the COVID vaccine as rates of infection are on the rise in the United States and experts warn of a fourth surge.
The money, which comes in part from President Joe Biden‘s $1.9 trillion America Rescue Plan, will also be used to expand access to the vaccine in communities of color, rural areas and low-income populations, according to a White House fact sheet.
The funds will also be used to ‘increase vaccine confidence across the country.’
The focus on increasing vaccine rates comes as the United States crossed 30 million coronavirus infections this week, more variants of the virus are being detected, and several states are – against the advice of health experts – lifting mitigation measures such as mask wearing.
‘I continue to be worried about the latest data and the apparent stall we’re seeing in the trajectory of the pandemic,’ CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday. ‘CDC is watching these numbers very closely.’
The White House announced Thursday it will spend $10 billion to convince people to get the COVID vaccine and to expand access to the vaccine in communities of color, rural areas and low-income populations
This month, the United States saw the first uptick in new COVID cases on a weekly basis since January and cases are trending higher in 30 out of 50 states. More than 546,000 people have died in the U.S. from the virus.
Additionally more cases of the COVID variants from the UK, Brazil and South Africa are being detected.
In the last week alone, the U.S. has reported 2,926 new variant cases – more than the country reported in December, January and February combined, a USA TODAY analysis found.
Health experts warn a fourth surge of the virus could come unless preventative measures – such as mask wearing – stay in place.
How the $10 billion will be spent
$6 billion to expand access to Covid-19 vaccines in underserved communities
$3 billion to strengthen vaccine confidence
$300 million for community health worker services to support Covid-19 prevention
$32 million for training, technical assistance, and evaluation
-White House Fact Sheet
‘When I’m often asked, “Are we turning the corner?,” my response is really more like, “We are at the corner. Whether or not we’re going to be turning that corner still remains to be seen,”’ said Dr. Anthony Fauci at Wednesday’s press briefing from health officials.
And Walensky warned: ‘Decisions we make now will determine how the pandemic looks in the days and weeks ahead.
Six states have lifted their mask mandates for the general public: Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. Alabama, Indiana and Utah are set to do so in the first half of April.
Nearly one-fourth of Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine while about 13% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Data isn’t complete on a racial breakdown but, among 39 states the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation analyzed, 19% of whites had gotten vaccinated compared with 11% of Blacks and 9% of Latinos.
Herd immunity is considered reached with 75% of the population is vaccinate.
Health experts warned people need to remain cautious until the vaccination rate has increased.
‘What concerns me is the footage of what’s happening in spring breakers, in people who are not continuing to implement prevention strategies while we get fully scaled up. We’re at 13 percent,’ Walensky said. ‘We need to be much higher than that to feel like we have adequate protection around this country.’
The move to increase vaccination rates comes as COVID cases are on the rise in the United States and more variants of virus are being detected
‘I continue to be worried about the latest data and the apparent stall we’re seeing in the trajectory of the pandemic,’ CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday
President Joe Biden announced he wants vaccine eligibility expanded to all adults by May 1.
And, in an address to the nation earlier this month, Biden urged people to get vaccinated, socially distance and wear face masks so the country wouldn’t have to reinstate restrictions in order to get the virus back under control.
‘If we don’t stay vigilant and the conditions change, than we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track. Please, we don’t want to have to do that again,’ he said.
‘We’ve made so much progress, this is not the time to let up. Just as we were emerging from a dark winter into a hopeful spring and summer is not the time to not stick with the rules,’ he added.
Several states already are expanding their vaccine eligibility ages.
The governors of Indiana, Texas and Georgia have announced plans to open eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone over 16 within the next week.
The three states join West Virginia, Tennessee and Arizona which announced plans to offer vaccines to anyone over 16 within the next two weeks.
Two states – Mississippi and Alaska – are already inoculating residents 16 and up.
An average of 2.5 million more shots are being given each day in the United States.
As of Wednesday, the U.S. has enough supply to vaccinate nearly 20 percent of its population, and had given at least one dose to 25.3 percent of its population and fully vaccinated 13.7 percent of Americans, according to Bloomberg tracking.
At that rate, the US could reach herd immunity within four months.
Herd immunity is broadly considered the benchmark for when life can return to some semblance of normality.