Within seven days of taking over as US president, Joe Biden on Tuesday declared that his government is “working to purchase” a total of 200 million additional doses of two authorised vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna which will be enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans by late summer this year.
“This increases the total vaccine order for the US by 50 per cent, from 400 million to 600 million with these additional doses expected to deliver this summer. With these additional doses, the US will have enough vaccine to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of this summer,” Biden said Tuesday evening. Summer in the US begins June 20.
Biden also announced an increase in vaccine supply to states which have been forced to cancel thousands of appointments because of their supplies running out. Weekly allocation will now increase from 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses.
“This increase of 1.4 million doses per week will allow millions more Americans to get vaccinated sooner than previously anticipated. The Administration is committing to maintaining this as the minimum supply level for the next three weeks,” Biden announced.
As of Tuesday, the federal government has distributed 44.3 million vaccine doses to states. Of that, 23 million doses, or over 52 per cent, have been administered. About 3.4 million people have received their full two-dose vaccination, and more than 19 million have got their first dose, according to data from the CDC.
The coronavirus has killed more than 4,21,000 Americans and infected more than 25 million since the first case was reported on January 21, 2020. Biden is hoping to get at least 100 million Americans vaccinated in the first 100 days of his government. He is holding out a sense of cautious optimism that any American who wants the vaccine could possibly get it “this Spring.”
Quoting from a Covid-19 predictive model, Biden said things will get “worse” before they get better. More than 500,000 Americans are likely to succumb to Covid-19 by the end of February, according to projections from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
(Nikhila Natarajan can be reached at [email protected])