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Biden says 90% of US adults to be eligible for vaccines by April 19, asks US to keep masking

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris
Posted at 12:13 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 16:31:48-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden announced Monday that 90% of U.S. adults will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines by April 19.

During a speech delivered at the White House, Biden also said 90% of adults will have a vaccination site within 5 miles of their home by the same date.

“I’m directing my COVID to team to ensure there is a vaccine site within 5 miles of 90% of all Americans by April 19, three weeks from today,” said Biden. “Look, we’re going to do this by going from having 17,000 pharmacies giving out vaccination shots to nearly 40,000 pharmacies doing it within the next three weeks. That will more than double the number of pharmacies where you can go get vaccinated.”

In the next three weeks, Biden also said the U.S. will add 12 more federally-run mass vaccination sites.

“Every day at these sites, tens of thousands of people are able to drive up, get a vaccine shot while in their car, and leave in less than an hour,” said Biden. “And over 60% of shots given at these sites goes to minority communities, because they’re in minority communities. We have to reach out. They’re the ones most effected by the pandemic.”

Additionally, Biden announced a new effort to fund community organizations to provide transportation and assistance for the nation’s most at-risk seniors and people with disabilities to access vaccines.

Biden said nearly $100 million in funding will be spent to expand the senior and disability services funded by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide the high-intensity assistance needed to get these individuals scheduled for and transported to vaccinations.

It will also fund community organizations to transport these people to appointments, which can involve extra time, assistance with mobility, and supporting people during wait times.

During his remarks, Biden also reiterated his call for Americans to continue wearing face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and asked state leaders to reinstate face mask mandates if they’ve dropped them.

“I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate,” said Biden. “Please, this is not politics. Reinstate the mandate, if you let it down. And businesses should require masks as well. The failure to take this virus seriously is precisely what got us in this mess in the first place, risks more cases and more deaths.”

Watch the president's remarks below:

The president’s speech comes as public health officials warn that coronavirus cases are trending in the wrong direction.

According to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases have begun to tick up in the U.S. after about two straight months of steady decline. Just two weeks ago, the 7-day weekly average in daily cases sat at about 53,000 a day. As of yesterday, that figure was above 61,000.