- The Washington Times - Monday, April 19, 2021

President Biden on Monday pleaded with Americans to get vaccinated now that every state is offering the vaccine to any adult, meeting his goal of widespread eligibility by April 19.

“Folks, I have good news. Everybody is eligible as of today to get the vaccine,” Mr. Biden said in a Twitter video. “We have enough of it, you need to be protected and you need, in turn, to protect your neighbors and your family. So please, get the vaccine.”

Many states were already offering the vaccines to all adults, though a handful of states flung open the gates Monday.

Half of U.S. adults have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine but cases are still rising overall, driven by fast-moving variants and spread among younger people who haven’t been vaccinated yet in hot spots such as Michigan and parts of the Northeast.

Daily cases remain close to the 70,000 mark but deaths are roughly static, suggesting vulnerable seniors are benefiting from vaccination but the shots haven’t reached enough Americans to hit a tipping point in wrestling down the virus overall.

“We remain in a complicated stage. On the one hand, more people in the United States are being vaccinated every single day at an accelerated pace,” said Rochelle Walenksy, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “On the other hand, cases and hospitalizations are increasing in some areas of the country and cases among younger people, who have not yet been vaccinated, are also increasing.”

The situation underscores the challenge before Mr. Biden in ensuring enough people come forward to get vaccinated so there is enough immunity to crush the spread.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pointed to Israel, which has administered doses to over 60% of its population and seeing a decrease in transmission.

“We are not there yet, but we can get there,” he said.

Right now, about 40% of the U.S. population, including children, has received one dose but only a quarter is fully vaccinated, defined as 14 days after the final dose of the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna or the single shot from Johnson & Johnson’s version, which is on hold as scientists study rare blood clots in a handful of recipients.

The administration insists it has enough vaccine supply to ensure anyone who comes forward can get an appointment.

Biden adviser Andy Slavitt said hugs and mask-less visits with friends and family should be an incentive.

“That’s an opportunity that’s now within reach for you if you make your appointment,” he said.

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