Coronavirus: 90% of US adults will be eligible for vaccination by April 19, Biden says

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Monday that the vast majority of American adults will be eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the coming weeks as officials work to boost the number of pharmacies where shots are available.

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In a statement released by the White House, officials said 90% of adult Americans will be eligible for vaccination by April 19. Further, officials said 90% of U.S. adults will be able to find a vaccination site within five miles of their homes by that same time.

“We’re going to do this by going from having 17,000 pharmacies giving out vaccination shots to nearly 40,000 pharmacies,” Biden said Monday at a news conference. “I’m pleased to announce that at least 90% of all adults in this country will be eligible to be vaccinated by April the 19th, just three weeks from now, because we have the vaccines.”

The president said the remaining 10% of American adults will be eligible for vaccination no later than May 1. In the meantime, he urged Americans to continue social distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands.

“The progress we’re making is a significant testament to what we can do when we work together as Americans,” Biden said. “We still need everyone to do their part. We’re still in a war with this deadly virus. We’re bolstering our defense, but this war is far from won.”

The announcement came hours after Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, described feeling a sense of “impending doom” amid a rising number of COVID-19 cases nationwide.

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“We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope,” Walensky said. “But right now, I’m scared.”

As of Monday, the U.S. continues to lead the world in the number of COVID-19 cases confirmed nationwide, at 30.2 million, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University. The viral infection has claimed nearly 550,000 lives in the U.S. alone.

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Globally, 127.3 million COVID-19 cases have been reported, causing 2.7 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

As of Monday morning, 145.8 million COVID-19 vaccination doses have been administered across the U.S. So far, 52.6 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, accounting for about 16% of the population.