WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden announced he’s shaving about two weeks off his May 1 deadline for states to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines Tuesday.
Biden said his administration’s new goal is that every adult in the U.S. will be eligible to be vaccinated by April 19.
“No more, confusing rules. No more confusing restrictions” Biden said.
The president emphasized that while three quarters of seniors have been vaccinated, he urged those still waiting to get one before eligibility expands.
“And today in advance of that new national full eligibility date, I want to make a direct appeal to our seniors and everyone who cares about them,” said Biden. “Seniors, it’s time for you to get vaccinated now.”
Biden explained that 150 million doses have been put into people’s arms since his 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.
The president also revealed that 80% of teachers, child care workers and school personnel had gotten their first shot, a key goal for reopening schools in many states across the country.
He also discussed the rise in coronavirus mutations and infection rates.
“We aren’t at the finish line. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re still in a life-or-death race against this virus,” Biden said. “What we do now can determine how many people we save or lose in the month of April, May or June before we get to July 4th.”
Biden said his goal is that the U.S. will begin sharing more vaccines with poorer countries once the U.S. has vaccinated a large percentage of American citizens by July 4th.
After his remarks, Biden commented on the fallout to Georgia’s new voting law, saying it was “reassuring” to see businesses stepping up.
“The best way to deal with it is for Georgia and other states to deal with it is to smarten up. Stop it. Stop it,” said the president.
Biden made the announcement at the following a visit to a vaccination site in Virginia. He thanked everyone for administering the shots and for showing up to receive them.
“That’s the way to beat this,” Biden said. “Get the vaccination when you can.”
The president also remarked on coronavirus mutations during his visit to the vaccination site. He said no one should fear mutations of the coronavirus that are showing up in the U.S. after being discovered in other countries.
He acknowledged that the new strains are more virulent and more dangerous, but said “the vaccines work on all of them.”
Biden announced just last week that 90% of adults would be eligible for one of three approved vaccines by April 19, in addition to having a vaccination site within 5 miles of where they live.
Biden’s original goal had been 100 million shots in arms by the end of his first 100 days.
The announcement about vaccine eligibility is somewhat symbolic, coming as states were already moving their own deadlines up and a flood of vaccine supply is being sent to states this week.
At least a dozen states opened eligibility to anyone over the age of 16 on Monday alone, while New Jersey’s governor announced yesterday that people age 16 and older will become eligible on April 19. A handful of states, including Hawaii and Oregon, still have May 1 as the deadline.
The Associated Press contributed to this report