President Biden, who announced when he was inaugurated that he would have “100 million shots in the arms” of Americans by his 100th day in office, will announce Thursday at his news conference that he is doubling that goal, a senior administration official said.
The moving target is in keeping with the president’s pattern: aim low, and when it is clear the initial target will be exceeded, adjust upward to another attainable goal. The nation is on track to meet the 200 million figure already. As of Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a total of 130 million shots had been administered, and that 14 percent of the American population is fully vaccinated.
Vaccine makers are also hitting their stride. Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have promised enough doses to inoculate all the nation’s roughly 260 million adults by the end of May, as Mr. Biden promised. In June, the first vaccine producers, Pfizer and Moderna, are expected to deliver another 100 million doses — enough to cover another 50 million people.
The United States has been averaging about 2.5 million doses a day during the last week. If that pace continues, the nation would surpass the 200 million shots goal before Mr. Biden’s 100th day, April 30. The new goal was reported earlier by MSNBC and CNN.
Officials say the nation will soon reach a point where the supply of vaccine outpaces demand; when that happens, the chief concern will not be a shortage of vaccine, but convincing those who are skeptical of the vaccine to get the shots and deciding what to do with a growing surplus. Vaccine hesitancy is particularly prominent among minorities, and also Republicans, who spent months last year listening to former President Donald J. Trump suggest that the risk of the virus was being exaggerated.
Earlier Thursday, White House officials said the administration would spend $10 billion on congressionally-appropriated money to expand access to Covid-19 vaccines and build vaccine confidence in the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities.