President Joe Biden made a bold commitment on Tuesday, promising that the United States will vaccinate 300 million residents against the coronavirus by the end of summer.
It’s an extremely ambitious timeline, and there are no guarantees he’ll succeed. But if the country pulls it off, Americans will finally have a chance of returning to a semblance of normal life.
“To a nation waiting for action, let me be clearest on this point: Help is on the way,” Biden said on Tuesday after announcing that the US has ordered another 200 million vaccine doses.
He also promised to dramatically increase distribution within just days.
To date, 71.3 million shots have been administered worldwide, according to Bloomberg. The US accounts for roughly 24.5 million of those — a solid start, but a very long way from 300 million, which would be nearly the entire population.
Vaccine distribution efforts across the country have encountered several major hurdles, with dwindling supplies forcing healthcare workers to cancel thousands of vaccination appointments.
“I wish I could tell you there’s plenty of vaccine and we can fill all these endless amounts of appointments,” David Kessler, Biden’s top vaccine expert, told STAT last week. “We can’t. It’s going to take us months to have enough supply.”
The news comes after Biden announced sweeping changes to the country’s approach to battling COVID last week. The president signed several new executive orders, among which was a mandate for all Americans to wear masks in public for the next 100 days.
There is some good news as well: According to preliminary real-world data collected by Israeli health officials, Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is proving to be highly effective— just as promised.
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