Biden Says U.S. to Meet 100-Million Shot Goal Six Weeks Early
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden announced the U.S. on Friday will clinch his goal of administering 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots in the first 100 days of his presidency, reaching the mark six weeks ahead of time.
“I’m proud to announce that tomorrow, 58 days into our administration, we will have met my goal of administering 100 million shots to our fellow Americans. That’s weeks ahead of schedule,” Biden said, speaking Thursday at the White House.
The U.S. recorded 2.7 million more doses on Thursday, pushing the cumulative total to 115.7 million shots given, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of data reported on inauguration day, the U.S. had given about 16.5 million doses.
That means Biden will hit the goal in data reported Friday, his 58th full day in office. Accounting for a brief lag in reporting, he claimed victory on Thursday.
The nation actually hit the 100-million mark last week, with 66 million people receiving at least a first dose of the vaccine. But Biden’s goal is based on how many shots have been given since he took office, and doesn’t include those administered during the Trump administration or on inauguration day.
Biden is on course to double his goal and see 200 million shots by his 100th day as president, though hiccups in deliveries could delay that.
“Next week, I will announce our next goal to put shots in arms,” Biden said.
While some Republicans have belittled Biden’s initial target as a low-ball estimate -- the U.S. rolling average topped one million a day, his target pace, on his third full day in office -- he first made the 100 million shots in 100 days pledge in December, when there was significant uncertainty about U.S. vaccine approvals, production capacity and deliveries.
Biden cast the goal as a realistic target, though it was less ambitious than the Trump administration’s baseline predictions. The vaccination campaign began during former President Donald Trump’s administration, and officials had said in December that 200 million doses could be administered by the end of February. Instead, only 75 million shots were given by then.
The achievement marks a significant political victory for Biden, who has made fighting the pandemic a cornerstone of his early presidency. It comes after another big win -- passage of his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, which the administration is promoting in a series of trips to electoral battleground states this week. The measure passed without Republican support.
“We’re way ahead of schedule but we’ve got a long way to go,” he said.
The administration has steadily ramped up weekly shipments of vaccines, aided by increased production by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. and the recent authorization of a one-dose vaccine by Johnson & Johnson. Officials expect to have enough doses by the end of March to fully vaccinate 130 million people, though that will depend on the three companies hitting delivery targets.
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