WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced that he’s shaving about two weeks off his May 1 deadline for states to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines.
Biden said that every adult in the U.S. will be eligible to be vaccinated by April 19.
States have been gradually expanding eligibility beyond such priority groups as seniors and essential front-line workers.
The vast majority of states had already announced they will expand vaccine eligibility ahead of Biden's new April 19 deadline. Oregon and Hawaii are the only two states that have not yet made such an announcement, though both have already vaccinated more than 30% of their residents.
Biden announced just last week that 90% of adults would be eligible for one of three approved vaccines by April 19, in addition to having a vaccination site within 5 miles of where they live. He's also promised that the U.S. will have enough vaccine supply to inoculate all Americans by the end of May.
As of Tuesday, 32% of Americans are partially vaccinated from the coronavirus, while 19% are considered fully vaccinated. Various experts have placed the threshold of fully vaccinated Americans to reach herd immunity at between 70 and 85%.
While Biden said the US was trending in the right direction with vaccinations, he cautioned that many Americans were getting too "caviler" and not following social distancing guidelines.
“Cases are going back up, hospitalizations are no longer declining, while deaths … they’re going up in some places," Biden said.
He added that he is hopeful that by July 4, Americans can safely gather for Independence Day, but added, "How much death and misery will we see between now and then?"