Biden: All U.S. Adults To Be Eligible For Vaccines By May, Some Normalcy Coming By Summer

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President Joe Biden told U.S. states on Thursday to make all adults eligible for a coronavirus vaccine by May 1 and urged Americans to stay vigilant or face more restrictions, hours after he signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill into law.

In a forceful but somber speech from the White House on the first anniversary of the pandemic lockdown, Biden said if Americans pulled together there could be a greater sense of normalcy – and some backyard barbecue parties with small groups – on the U.S. Independence Day holiday on July 4.

That date is a new goal for the president and a projection of hope amid a pandemic that has killed more than 530,000 people in the United States, the most of any country.

To achieve his summer target, Biden said he needed Americans’ help.

“If we don’t stay vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track,” he said in an evening address from the White House, his first in television prime time since becoming president.

“We’ve made so much progress. This is not the time to let up. Just as we are emerging from a dark winter into a hopeful spring and summer is not the time to not stick with the rules,” he said.

Republicans swiftly criticized Biden for his cautious approach. “What America needs now is to fully reopen our economy and our classrooms,” House of Representatives Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said on Twitter.

Biden said he was ordering U.S. states, territories and tribes to make all adults eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine by May 1. The White House has said it would have enough vaccine supply to vaccinate the adult population by the end of May. About 10% of Americans so far have been fully vaccinated.

Administration officials said he would deploy 4,000 more troops to help with the vaccine effort, bringing the total number to 6,000. The White House is also seeking to expand the pool of people able to administer shots to include dentists, optometrists, paramedics, veterinarians and medical students.

-Reuters

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