- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 25, 2021

President Biden on Thursday said the U.S. will likely be the first country to reach 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots as he celebrated getting to the halfway point of his personal 100-day goal.

Americans are leading the world in total doses administered so far, with 66.5 million shots altogether. The program began under the Trump administration, though Mr. Biden watched frontline workers get vaccinated to celebrate 50 million shots-and-counting under his watch.

He said his administration will launch a public-awareness campaign soon to make sure people understand the vaccines are safe and effective. Demand is outstripping supply right now, but eligibility should greatly expand by mid-spring.

“The more people who get vaccinated, the faster we’re gonna beat this pandemic,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Biden pledged to deliver 100 million shots in his first 100 days, though many say the program was on that pace when he took over so he should set his sights higher.

The country is delivering close to 1.5 million shots per day, on average, though experts say 3 million shots per day should be the aim to get to herd immunity by late summer.

“At first critics said that goal was too ambitious, no one could do that. Then they said it was too small,” Mr. Biden said of 100 million shots in 100 days. “The bottom line, though, is America will be the first country — perhaps the only one — to get that done.”

A lack of supply is the key impediment to vaccinating people faster.

Officials say Pfizer and Moderna continue to ramp up production. Meanwhile, the pending approval of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine will accelerate the campaign, though officials were disappointed that initial shipments of the J&J version will be in the low single-digit millions.

Mr. Biden said the federal government will ship out the vaccine “as quickly as Johnson and Johnson can make it.”

The president also said he’ll publicly detail the “success and the failures” of the vaccine campaign after each 50 million shots are given.

Mr. Biden said coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are falling from an early January peak but warned they could spike against, especially in the face of dangerous variants.

“This is not a time to relax. We must keep washing our hands, stay socially distanced and for God’s sake — for God’s sake — wear a mask,” Mr. Biden said. “The worst thing we could do now is let our guard down.”

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