Wednesday, 21 April, 2021


Biden aims for quicker shots, virus 'independence' by July 4

Chart showing US cases and deaths Healthcare interests, restaurants among COVID relief bill winners
Melba Vasquez | 12 March, 2021, 11:11

President Joe Biden told U.S. states on Thursday to make all adults eligible for a coronavirus vaccine by May 1 and urged Americans to stay vigilant or face more restrictions, hours after he signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill into law.

President Joe Biden will direct states to make coronavirus vaccines available to all adults by May 1 in an effort to return the USA to a state of normalcy by July 4, the president announced in his first prime-time address as president on Thursday.

Speaking in the White House East Room, Mr Biden marked one year since the onset of the pandemic that has killed more than 530,000 Americans and disrupted the lives of countless more.

The administration will also attempt to expand the pool of professionals who can give vaccines to include paramedics, physicians' assistants, veterinarians, and dentists, and medical students, including some training for non-physician positions. On Wednesday, Congress approved the president's $1.9 trillion "American Rescue Plan", aimed at easing the economic impact of the virus on tens of millions of people. Some direct checks could begin arriving this weekend.

In his first prime-time address as USA president, Joe Biden talks about the lives lost and special moments missed due to COVID-19 in the past year.

The package provides $400 billion for $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, an expansion of the child tax credit and increased funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The big news from his speech was that all adult Americans would be eligible for a vaccine by the beginning of May - a pace, he boasted, that was the best in the world.

President Joe Biden is set to order U.S. states to make all adults eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations.

The spending bill, one of the largest in United States history, passed Congress without a single Republican supporter.

During the press call, Biden aides also outlined a broader acceleration of the vaccination effort. Republicans in both chambers opposed the legislation unanimously, characterizing it as bloated, crammed with liberal policies and heedless of signs the crises are easing.

"It is never, ever a good bet to bet against the American people", Biden said.

"We want to move as fast as possible", tweeted Biden's chief of staff Ron Klain.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released initial guidance for how vaccinated people can resume some normal activities.

Biden highlighted how since entering the White House he has been working with Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to "manufacture and purchase hundreds of millions of doses" of vaccines - meaning 65 percent of elderly people have received the coronavirus vaccine in the last two months.

Trump admitted to journalist Bob Woodward that he downplayed the severity of the virus at times so as not to cause panic, and the former president spread misinformation about the virus and its treatments. In his speech, Biden laid out a timeline for the months ahead that included reopening of K-12 schools, new CDC guidelines for the vaccine, and a return to small gatherings.

"Generally, the country likes optimism, and at this particular moment they're desperate for optimism, but you can't risk a "Mission Accomplished" moment, '" he said, warning against any premature declaration that the threat has been vanquished.

Biden, who campaigned on a promise to curb the pandemic more effectively than his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, has told Americans since his January inauguration that more deaths and pain were coming from COVID-19.

Biden will hit the road next week to promote the package in a nationwide tour.

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