President Joe Biden will reach his goal of seeing the U.S. administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses during his first 100 days in office on Friday, well ahead of schedule.
The country will reach that milestone on his 58th day in office, more than 40 days early.
"We're going to beat this, we're way ahead of schedule, but we've got a long way to go," Biden said in a speech on Thursday, NPR reported.
The president first announced his plan to administer 100 million doses in 100 days in December, before coming into office, and it was thought to be a tough, but possible goal. After Biden was sworn in, his administration discovered that the Trump administration did not leave the promised stockpile of vaccines, complicating that goal. But after purchasing more doses of Pfizer and Moderna's vaccine, along with Johnson & Johnson's, which was approved for emergency use in February, vaccinations picked up, and around 2.5 million doses are now being administered a day.
Biden said Thursday that he would announce a new goal for vaccinations next week and urged anyone who is still hesitant to get their vaccine.
"We need millions more to get vaccinated," he said, explaining that wider participation is needed to end the pandemic.
Recent polls have shown that while more Americans say they will get vaccinated when eligible, a PBS poll released last week showed that 49% of Republican men say they don't intend to get the vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said he was "very surprised" by the poll, and called on former president Donald Trump to urge his followers to get vaccinated, which Trump did on Tuesday.
In total, 115,730,008 doses have been administered since the first vaccine, from Pfizer, was approved for emergency use in December. About one in four Americans, 75,495,716, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and more than one in ten, 40,981,464, are now fully vaccinated.
Though vaccinations have picked up significantly, the rollout differs by state. In some places, only those over age 65 or with preexisting conditions are eligible for the vaccine, while Alaska and Mississippi are now allowing everyone 16 and up to get vaccinated. Biden said in a speech last week that he expects states to open up their vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1.
Biden emphasized on Thursday that vaccines will help end the pandemic, noting that some states are seeing a rise in cases as newer variants spread through the country.
"Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to fight back against these variants," he said.
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