President Joe Biden on Tuesday will set a new goal of administering at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose to 70% of the US adult population and having 160 million US adults fully vaccinated by July 4, according to senior administration officials.
To meet this goal, Biden will direct tens of thousands of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program to offer walk-in appointments and redirect Federal Emergency Management Agency resources to support more pop-up clinics, smaller community vaccination sites and more mobile clinics, the officials said.
The Biden administration will also ship new allocations of Covid-19 vaccines to rural health clinics across the nation and provide additional funding to help communities conduct outreach to help get more Americans vaccinated.
The President will announce an effort to get adolescents vaccinated as soon as possible if a Covid-19 vaccine is cleared for use in the US for this age group. The FDA is poised to authorize Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine in children and teens ages 12 to 15 by early next week, a federal government official told CNN.
Extending the emergency authorization to people in this age group would open Covid-19 vaccine eligibility to an additional 5% of the US population.
“We will be able to mobilize immediately,” a senior administration official told reporters, should the emergency use authorization be granted. The official said about half of the federal pharmacy program will be ready to vaccinate this age group, and that vaccines will be ready to ship to pediatricians and family doctors.
As of Tuesday, more than 105 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers Disease Control and Prevention, and 147 million Americans have had at least one dose of vaccine. Biden’s new goal will require nearly 100 million additional shots in arms over the next 60 days, the official said.
The moves come as the Biden administration races to get shots in arms as variants spread throughout the country and threaten to derail the nation’s progress in the fight against the pandemic.
After spending months focused on ramping up supply and distribution of the vaccines, the White House is now working to combat vaccine hesitancy. Tuesday’s announcements are the latest efforts to build confidence in the safety and efficacy of the three Covid-19 vaccines that have been cleared for use in the United States.
Biden will speak on Tuesday about making access to vaccinations more convenient, supporting community vaccine education and local outreach efforts and reaching those in rural communities in the administration’s Covid-19 response.
The President will announce nearly $250 million in funding for community-based organizations to hire and mobilize community outreach workers, community health workers, social support specialists, and others to increase access to the Covid-19 vaccines for those hardest-hit by the pandemic.
Biden will also announce more than $130 million in funding to improve vaccine education and information and to work on reducing health disparities in underserved communities.
Nearly $250 million will be immediately awarded to states, territories and certain large city governments to fund the next phase of their vaccine outreach efforts. More than $100 million in duding will go to approximately 4,600 rural health clinics across the country to support vaccine outreach in rural communities.
In addition, nearly $860 million in funding will go toward supporting rural health clinics and rural hospitals in broadening their Covid-19 testing and mitigation capacity in order to stop the spread of the virus.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.