Tony Heaton of Falling Waters wearing a West Virginia stars and stripes t-shirt receives a vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during a community vaccination event in Martinsburg, West Virginia on March 11, 2021.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters
President Joe Biden is poised to meet his goal of getting 100 million Covid-19 vaccination shots in his first 100 days as early as Thursday, a senior administrative official told NBC News.
The president had reached the goal ahead of schedule, said the official. Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, approximately 57 days ago. Biden said last week that he expected to hit the goal on day 60.
Biden is expected to make a “vaccination status” announcement later Thursday, where he can discuss the milestone.
Health experts say the president’s goal of 100 million shots in 100 days was an achievable benchmark. After a slower than expected rollout under former President Donald Trump, the rate of vaccination in the US has increased rapidly, firing an average of 2 to 3 million shots per day.
Since taking office, the Biden administration has worked to increase the supply of vaccine doses in the US after states complained that demand for the shots exceeded supply.
Last week the government announced it would buy 100 million additional doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. The deal would double the country’s supply of the J&J vaccine as the company has already signed a deal with the government to provide 100 million doses by the end of June. Merck Helps Manufacture J & J.’s Covid Vaccine
The government has also signed deals with drug makers Pfizer and Moderna for 600 million doses, which is enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans, as these two vaccines require two shots three to four weeks apart.
Biden is instructing states to qualify all adults ages 18 and older for the vaccines by May 1, he announced a week ago. The government will set up a website in May to help people find vaccination sites nearby, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be issuing new health and safety guidelines for those who have been vaccinated.
Although the pace of vaccination is increasing, there is still another problem with administering it: the hesitation of the vaccine.
Although clinical trial data shows the vaccines are safe and highly effective, just under half of US adults surveyed in December said they are very likely to be vaccinated, according to a study by the CDC.
Officials also encounter an unforeseen problem with the distribution of J & J’s recordings. Although J & J’s vaccine is a highly effective vaccine, particularly against serious illness and death, its rate of effectiveness is lower than that of Pfizer and Moderna, and therefore is perceived as inferior by some Americans.
The administration is also at risk of new, emerging variants. The CDC has announced that the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the UK, is expected to be the dominant strain in the US by the end of this month or early April. A study published in the British Medical Journal found the highly contagious strain was linked to a 64% higher risk of dying from Covid-19 than previous strains.
Senior health officials, including the White House Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anthony Fauci, urge Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The virus cannot mutate if it cannot infect hosts and cannot multiply.