By MOLLY NAGLE and ARIELLE MITROPOULOS, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced that on Friday his administration will deliver on his promise to get 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of Americans in his first 100 days in office.
‘Fifty-eight 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 afternoon at the White House.
According to data collected by the CDC, approximately 115 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the first COVID-19 vaccines were authorized by the FDA in December 2020.
About 16.5 million of those 115 million doses were administered under the Trump administration
As of Thursday, 65% of people age 65 or older had received at least one shot and 36% have been fully vaccinated, Biden said.
The Biden administration hitting the goal of 100 million doses will come 42 days before Biden’s self-imposed deadline, which he announced in December before taking office, and before any vaccines were approved for use in the U.S.
The president said he will announce a new goal for the remainder of his first 100 days in office next week, and urged Americans to stay engaged in mitigation efforts against the virus, even as the country ramps up vaccinations.
“This is a time for optimism, but it’s not a time for relaxation. I need all Americans, I need all of you to do your part. Wash your hands, stay socially distanced, keep masking up as recommended by the CDC, and get vaccinated when it’s your turn. Now is not the time to let down our guard,” he warned.
While the country’s national daily case average continues to fall, nearly a third of all states have seen their average number of cases rise at least 10% over the last month.
“Scientists have made clear things may get worse as new variants of this virus spread. Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to fight back against these variants. While millions of people are vaccinated, we need millions more to be vaccinated,” Biden said.
During his first prime-time address this month, Biden announced a number of efforts to help increase vaccinations, including directing all states to open vaccine eligibility to all U.S. adults by May 1, with the country on track to secure enough doses to vaccinate all adults by the end of May.
In his remarks Thursday, Biden pleaded with Americans to get the vaccine as it becomes more widely available.
“I need you to get vaccinated when it’s your turn, when you’re able to do that. I need your help. I need you to help. Not just the country, but your family, your friends, your neighbors, get them vaccinated as well,” he said.
“If we keep our guard up, stick together, and stick with the science, we can look forward to a Fourth of July that feels a bit more normal with small groups able to gather for cookouts in backyards, and where we would begin to declare our independence on Independence Day from the virus.”
While Biden took a victory lap Thursday for the early delivery on his vaccination promise, the Biden administration previously faced criticism early on that they were setting the bar too low, given the United States was already on track to hit the goal when Biden took office on Jan. 20.
“I always said, that’s just the floor. We will not stop until we beat this pandemic,” he said. “We’re gonna beat this. We’re way ahead of schedule, but we got a long way to go.”
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