President Joe Biden on Tuesday said the US will have a large enough supply of coronavirus vaccines to inoculate every adult in the nation by the end of May — two months earlier than previously expected.
“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden said at the White House.
Less than a month earlier, the Biden administration offered a more modest prediction: that the U.S. would have enough vaccine supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July.
Biden’s announcement came as the White House works to increase production of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot Covid vaccine, the most recent to receive approval for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration. Biden confirmed in his speech that J&J and pharmaceutical giant Merck will work together to pump up production of the newly approved vaccine.
“When we came into office, the prior administration had contracted for not nearly enough vaccines to cover adults in America. We rectified that,” Biden said.
“I’m pleased to announce today, as the consequence of a stepped-up process that I’ve ordered and just outlined, this country will have enough vaccine supply — I’ll say it again — for every adult in America by the end of May.”
“That’s progress, important progress,” Biden said. “But it’s not enough.”
The president said that the U.S. still is in dire need of vaccinators who can administer the shots, as well as sites where people can go to get vaccinated.
Biden, who often warns against setting overly optimistic expectations about progress against the pandemic, declined to give a rosier estimate for when things could go back to “normal.”
“I’ve been cautioned not to give an answer to that because we don’t know for sure,” Biden said. “But my hope is by this time next year we’re going to be back to normal.”