Biden Directs All States to Make All Adults Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccines by May 1
On Thursday evening, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. addressed the nation on the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, commemorating the over 500,000 lives lost in the U.S. and outlining additional federal efforts to end the pandemic. President Biden detailed the following steps to return the nation closer to normal by this coming Independence Day:
- All Adults to Become Eligible for Vaccine by May 1: President Biden directed all states, tribes, and territories to make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine no later than May 1. The White House COVID-19 Response Team has determined that accelerated vaccination efforts will enable prioritized vaccinations to be far enough along by the end of April that all eligibility restrictions for vaccinations can be lifted by May 1.
- Governor Newsom Statement: Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday evening issued a statement on the President’s announcement to expand COVID-19 vaccine access, indicating his Administration looks “forward to learning more about the President’s plan and working together to make this important goal a reality.”
- Community Health Center Vaccination Expansion: The Biden-Harris Administration, over the next six weeks, will deliver vaccines directly to up to an additional 700 community health centers that reach underserved communities, increasing the total number of participating community health centers across the country to 950. These health centers serve low-income and minority patients, provide services to rural and tribal communities, and many will utilize mobile vans to deliver services. Additional information is available here.
- Pharmacy Vaccine Supply: The Administration will double the number of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program, making the vaccine available at more than 20,000 pharmacies in locations convenient to all Americans. The Administration is additionally directing pharmacies to expand mobile operations into hardest hit communities to reach more people.
- Community Vaccination Centers: The Administration will more than double the number of federally run mass vaccination centers operated by FEMA, the U.S. Military, and other federal agencies in partnerships with states. Many of the community vaccination centers will be home base for mobile units that will travel into local communities to provide vaccines directly in underserved communities.
- Increasing the Number of Vaccinators: President Biden has directed the deployment of more than 4,000 active-duty troops to support vaccination efforts, bringing the total to over 6,000 in all. The Administration is also expanding the pool of qualified professionals able to administer vaccines, including dentists, emergency medical technicians, midwives, optometrists, paramedics, physician assistants, podiatrists, respiratory therapists, veterinarians, as well as medical students, nursing students, and other health professions students under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched a website to help individuals determine whether they are eligible to sign up to volunteer to administer vaccines.
- Tools to Make it Easier for Individuals to Find a Vaccine: The Biden-Harris Administration will be rolling out additional features to make it easier for individuals to find a vaccine near them. The Administration will be launching a federally supported website that will show vaccination locations, a 1-800 number call center, and a technical support team to assist states in improving their vaccination websites.
- Clarifying Guidance on Vaccinated Americans: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will continue to issue clear guidance for individuals on what they can do after being fully vaccinated. The CDC will provide public health guidance related to travel, small gatherings, work, and places of worship as the nation nears Independence Day. The CDC guidance and messaging will also make clear the benefits of vaccinations to encourage more Americans to receive a vaccine.
- School Reopening Efforts: President Biden identified a series of additional federal actions to support the safe reopening of schools throughout the country. These efforts include additional financial support for schools to pay for critical supplies and school modifications, expanded regular COVID-19 testing, education-related guidance and support, and education personnel vaccinations.
- COVID-19 Variants and Surveillance: The Biden-Harris Administration is additionally expanding community-based COVID-19 testing to better monitor cases nationwide. Additionally, the Administration will be dramatically expanding genomic sequencing, allowing the CDC to more quickly detect emerging virus variants and work to mitigate their spread.
The full announcement from the White House is available here.
Quadrilateral Partnership on COVID-19 Vaccines
In addition to the above actions, the Biden-Harris Administration today announced a partnership with Australia, India, and Japan to expand safe, affordable, and effective COVID-19 vaccine production and equitable access, to speed economic recovery, and benefit global health. The quadrilateral partnership will work to strengthen equitable vaccine access among countries in the Indo-Pacific and will work closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and COVAX. Additional information the quadrilateral partnership is available here.