President Joe Biden has announced that his goal of delivering 100 million vaccines in less than 100 days has been achieved.
Biden was KVML’s “Newsmaker of the Day” on Monday. Here are his words:
“When I announced in early December that I had set myself the goal of administering 100 million vaccines against the virus in the first 100 days of our office – 100 million vaccines in 100 days – it was considered ambitious. . Some even suggested it was somewhat daring. Experts said it was a – the plan was, in quotes, “definitely aggressive”, and the distribution would have to be “transparent” for us to succeed. A headline simply said it, in quotes: “It won’t be easy.” End of quote. Well, it wasn’t.
When I took office, when we came to power, there was a lot to do. We needed more vaccines, more vaccinators, more places where people could get vaccinated. And we needed a whole-of-government approach.
So I asked Jeff Zients, our COVID-19 response coordinator, to put us on a war footing – and I meant that in the literal sense – to put us on the right path to truly defeating this virus.
And I am proud to announce that tomorrow, 58 days into our administration, we will have reached my goal of administering 100 million vaccines to our fellow Americans.
That’s weeks ahead of schedule, and even with the setbacks we’ve faced during winter storms. And that’s another big step on the road to verification – putting checks in people’s pockets and kicking people in the arms.
When we surpassed 50 million doses just three weeks ago, I told you that each time we hit the 50 million mark, I would update you on our progress.
Here is where we are today: eight weeks ago, only 8% of the elderly, the most vulnerable to COVID-19, had been vaccinated. Today, 65% of people aged 65 or over have received at least one injection and 36% are fully vaccinated. And that’s key — because this is a population that accounts for 80% of the more than 500,000 COVID-19 deaths that have occurred in America.
We have nearly doubled the amount of vaccine doses we distribute each week to states, tribes and territories. We went from a million shots a day – which I promised in December, even before we were sworn in – to an average of two and a half million shots a day, significantly outpacing the rest of the world.
And here’s how we did it: Using the power given to a president under the Defense Production Act, we accelerated the production of materials critical to vaccine production, such as equipment, machinery and supplies. We’ve worked with vaccine makers to expedite the delivery of millions more doses and brokered a historic manufacturing partnership between competing companies that prioritize patriotism and public health.
These milestones put us on track to have enough vaccines — enough vaccines for every American adult by the end of May — months — months earlier than planned.
And we have established or provided more than 600 community vaccination sites that administer hundreds of thousands of vaccines daily.
We started the Federal Pharmacy Program, which enabled millions of Americans to get their shots at one of 1,000 or, excuse me, 14,000 local pharmacies across this country, the same way they get vaccinated against the flu.
And for people who aren’t near a pharmacy or mass vaccination center, we’ve provided more than 500 mobile clinics, like pop-ups or vans, meeting people where they are — meeting people where they are.
We’ve grown almost — we’ve deployed nearly 6,000 federal personnel, including FEMA, active-duty military, and the Department of Health and Human Services to support vaccinations and serve as vaccinators — putting the needle in people’s arms.
We are also providing vaccines to community health centers to reach those who have been hit hardest – the hardest hit – and who have suffered the most, especially black, Latino, Native American and rural communities. This is really important, because we believe that speed and efficiency must go hand in hand with justice and fairness.
Now, when President Harris and I took a virtual tour of a vaccination center in Arizona not too long ago, one of the nurses on that tour – on that tour, injecting people, doing vaccinations, said each injection was like administering a dose of hope. “A dose of hope.” That’s how she phrased it.
Behind those 100 million snapshots are millions of changed lives when people get that dose of hope: grandparents can hug their grandchildren again. Frontline workers who can show up to work without the same fear as before. Teachers – with the confidence to return to class.
These milestones are significant achievements, but we still have a long way to go. Much more to do. And the US bailout will help us do that.
In addition to the cash payments it offers to you and your families, it also provides the funds needed to add vaccinators, to supply [sic] more community vaccination – support more community vaccination centers and increase testing.
This will help us accelerate national efforts to reopen our schools safely. And as I told the nation last week, I have directed all states, tribes and territories to make all adults eligible for vaccination by May 1. I am happy to see that several states are already taking this step to make Americans more and more eligible, even before May 1st.
Tomorrow, we will reach 100 million doses administered by our administration. But I’ve always said: it’s just the ground. We won’t stop until we defeat this pandemic. Next week, I’ll be announcing our next goal to hit the bullseye.
Now is the time to be optimistic, but now is not the time to relax. I need all Americans – I need you all to do your part: wash your hands, stay socially distant, continue to mask up as the CDC recommends, and get vaccinated when it’s your turn . Now is not the time to let our guard down.
Over the past week, we have seen an increase in the number of cases in several states.
Scientists have made it clear that things could get worse as new variants of this virus spread. Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to fight these variants.
While millions of people are vaccinated, we need millions more to be vaccinated. And, again, I need you to get vaccinated when it comes – when it’s your turn, when you’re able to. I need your help. I need your help – not just the country, but your family, your friends, your neighbors. Get them vaccinated too.
If we stay on our toes, stick together, and stick to the science, we can expect a 4th of July that feels a little more normal, with small groups able to gather for backyard barbecues, and when we will be – where we start to declare our independence on virus independence day.
Look, together – together, we will come through this stronger, with renewed confidence in each other, in our government fulfilling its most important function: to protect the American people.
Let me be clear again: wear this mask, meanwhile; be sure to wash your hands; making sure to social distance and listen to the CDC. We need to get to the point where we have herd immunity — meaning where we have a large majority of Americans have been vaccinated — before we can stop wearing them.
So please, please don’t let what’s happening — you see what’s happening in Europe and you see it on television. Keep the faith. Keep wearing the mask, keep washing your hands, and keep social distancing. We will beat this. We are well ahead of schedule, but we still have a long way to go.
So I just wanted to let you know. And thank you very much. And God bless America, and God protect our troops.
Thanks very much.”
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning at 6:45 a.m., 7:45 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. on AM 1450 and FM 102.7 KVML.