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Biden says 90% of adults will be vaccine eligible in three weeks

President Joe Biden announced on Monday that 90% of adults will be eligible to get a coronavirus vaccine within the next three weeks as well as have a vaccination site within five miles of where they live.

“For the vast, vast majority of adults, you won’t have to wait until May 1. You’ll be eligible for your shot on April 19,” Biden said. The President previously said he was directing states to open eligibility to all adult Americans by May 1.

Biden said the US would increase the number of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy vaccination program from the current 17,000 locations to 40,000. He also announced a record 33 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be made available to vaccination sites this week — a surge in availability that the administration hopes will mean newly eligible adults can find shots.

The President, however, stressed that the country’s battle against Covid-19 is “far from won” as cases are once again on the rise and called on every governor, mayor and local leader to maintain — and in some cases reinstate — mask mandates.

“Please. This is not politics,” Biden said. “Reinstate the mandate if you let it down.”

His plea comes as some states have lifted requirements for masks and allowed businesses to return to full capacity against the guidance of public health experts.

“We’re giving up hard-fought, hard-won gains and as much as we’re doing, America, it’s time to do even more,” Biden said. “All of us have to do our part.”

The President also said in the next three weeks his administration would stand up 12 more federally run mass vaccination sites. Andy Slavitt, a senior White House Covid-19 response adviser, announced earlier Monday that two new sites would be opening in Gary, Indiana, and St. Louis.

The administration will also establish a new transportation program in partnership with community organizations to get at-risk seniors and people with disabilities access to the vaccines.

More than 549,600 Americans had died from Covid-19 as of Monday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 145,800,000 Covid-19 doses have been administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The development on vaccine eligibility for American adults was first reported by Bloomberg News.

Last week, Biden announced a new coronavirus vaccine goal of 200 million vaccine doses in arms in his first 100 days in office. He cleared his initial goal — 100 million doses of the vaccine into arms by his first 100 days in office — on day 58 of his presidency.

Monday’s announcement comes hours after administration officials charged with the federal Covid-19 response expressed worry about the current trajectory of coronavirus cases around the country.

After announcing that the US has surpassed 30 million cases of Covid-19, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a virtual White House briefing on Monday she had a feeling of “impending doom,” adding that “right now, I’m scared.”

“Now is one of those times when I have to share the truth, and I have to hope and trust you will listen. I’m going to pause here. I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Walensky said, appearing to tear up.

Walensky also said she would be speaking with governors on Tuesday to “buckle down” on states reopening too quickly.

This story has been updated with additional information.

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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