President Biden on Monday raised his administration’s vaccine distribution goal to 1.5 million shots administered per day, saying vaccines could be available for the general public in spring.
The administration had initially set a goal of 1 million shots per day, however health care workers were already administering more than a million shots as of Wednesday. Biden indicated that vaccines would be widely available in the coming months.
“I think we’ll be able to do that this spring,” Biden said. “It is going to be a logistical challenge that exceeds anything we’ve ever tried in this country, but I think we can do that.”
Biden added, “I feel confident that by summer we’re going to be well on our way to heading toward herd immunity.”
The goal marked a change from Biden’s remarks on Thursday, when the president challenged a reporter who asked if the vaccination goal was “high enough,” since “that’s basically where the U.S. is right now.”
“When I announced it you all said it wasn’t possible. Come on, give me a break, man,” Biden said at the time. It’s unclear who exactly said the goal of 100 million daily vaccinations was “impossible.”
If the U.S. can administer 1.5 million shots in 100 days, around 75 million people could be fully vaccinated, or 23 percent of the country’s population. While vaccination plans and rates differ by state, those currently receiving vaccinations include health care workers and the elderly. The U.S. has administered 23.5 million shots in total as of Monday, according to the Bloomberg coronavirus vaccine tracker.
Over 23 million Americans have been infected with coronavirus since the pandemic hit the U.S. in March 2020. Currently, a surge in coronavirus cases across the country that peaked in early January appears to be receding. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases stood at 172,000 on Monday, down from almost 260,000 at the peak on January 8.