WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — All Americans 16 years and older are now eligible for coronavirus vaccines beginning Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden said his administration’s new goal was for every adult in the U.S. to be eligible by April 19, shaving about two weeks off his original May 1 deadline.
“No more, confusing rules. No more confusing restrictions,” Biden said.
In a video posted to Twitter Monday, the president encouraged Americans to get vaccinated in a bid to return to normal life sooner.
People aged 16 years and above who have underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19, should be among those offered the vaccine first, according to the CDC’s latest recommendations.
“If you’re 16 or over it is your turn to get vaccinated no matter where you live,” White House senior Covid-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said at a Monday press briefing. “And now there’s a 9 out of 10 chance that you are located within 5 miles of your vaccine shot.”
More than 190 million doses have been put into people’s arms since Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. That puts the president well on track to meet his new goal of 200 million shots administered by April 30 — his 100th day in office.
CDC Directer Rochelle Walensky Monday encouraged Americans be cautious despite the increase in vaccinations as the number of cases and hospitalizations.
“We remain in a complicated stage. On the one hand, more people in the United States are being vaccinated every single day at an accelerated pace,” Walensky said. “On the other hand cases and hospitalizations are increasing.”
About 84.3 million people, or 25.4% of the U.S. population, have been fully inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer Inc/ BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson, according to CDC data. 39.5% of the U.S. population or 131.2 million adults had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, indicated Sunday that the government will likely move to resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine this week, possibly with restrictions or broader warnings after reports of some very rare blood clot cases.
“I would be very surprised if we don’t have a resumption in some form by Friday,” he said. “I don’t really anticipate that they’re going to want it stretch it out a bit longer.”
The J&J vaccine was thrown into limbo after the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said last week that they needed more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot — and if so, how big the risk is.
The reports are rare — six cases out of more than 7 million U.S. inoculations with the J&J vaccine.
The CDC advisory panel is set to meet on Friday to discuss the next steps for the vaccine.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.