Get ready for April 19.
On Tuesday, the Biden White House announced that the deadline for states to make all adults eligible for covid-19 vaccines has been bumped up. By April 19, every U.S. state and territory will be expected to expand vaccine accessibility beyond priority groups such as the elderly, frontline workers, and those with health conditions that can exacerbate covid-19 symptoms. While several states have already made the vaccine eligible to larger groups, this announcement acts as an encouraging boost of optimism and, for some states, some much needed pressure.
Last month, Biden said that May 1 will be the covid-19 vaccine expansion deadline. But the nearly two-week jump comes with promising new vaccination numbers. Since Biden took office, 150 million jabs have been administered across the country, far exceeding Biden’s goal to achieve 100 million shots by April 30, his 100th day in office. While some states have lagged behind on vaccine distribution, the majority of states can already confirm that over 30 percent of their population have received at least one shot. And last week, the White House announced that weekly shipments of covid-19 vaccines to states will increase by one million doses to a total of 14.5 million doses per week.
Whether people will be able to scoop up the much sought-after appointments on April 19 is another story entirely. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki clarified that this “doesn’t mean [people] will get it that day, it means [people] can join the line that day if they have not already done that beforehand.”
The vaccine rollout has often felt like a rat race, leaving even the most tech-savvy Americans unable to reserve appointments due to high demand. If someone with a smartphone glued to their hand can’t manage to pin down an appointment, then it’s guaranteed that older Americans and those with limited internet access will have problems of their own. For example, New York state is lagging behind in its vaccination of those over 65, but is ahead of the game when it comes to vaccinating people under 65.
This is a public policy concern, certainly, but the overall vaccination numbers are still promising. On Saturday, a record four million Americans received covid-19 vaccines. At this current rate, it’s estimated that 90 percent of Americans over 18 will be vaccinated by late July.
“Now is not the time to let up in our fight against COVID-19,” Biden tweeted Tuesday. “We have to hold the line while everyone gets vaccinated. Keep wearing a mask, stay socially distanced, and wash your hands. Let’s fight this to the end.”
Yes, keep up the fight so we can all have the horny summer we deserve.