(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Adults anxiously awaiting to sign up for their first COVID-19 vaccine are in for some good news. President Joe Biden mandated on Thursday that, by May 1, all adults in the U.S. be eligible for a shot.
This significantly bumps up vaccination goal timelines and, perhaps, reduce health officials’ fears of large gatherings over the summer holidays — primarily the Fourth of July.
Previously, Doctor Anthony Fauci suggested that the nation could start to return to a sense of normalcy when up to 80 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
“I’m gonna launch the next phase of the COVID response and explain what we will do as a government and what we will ask of the American people,” said President Biden. “There is light at the end of this dark tunnel of the past year. But we cannot let our guard down now or assume the victory is inevitable. Together, we’re gonna get through this pandemic and usher in a healthier and more hopeful future.”
President Biden also called for vigilance from the American people, saying that the possibility of having safe gatherings by the Fourth of July is possible should everyone do their part.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously laid out guidelines for vaccinated individuals, saying those who have received both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, may be able to gather in small groups with other fully vaccinated individuals without the need to socially distance or wear masks.
While the president’s orders doesn’t mean all adults will receive their first vaccine by May 1, it will ensure that those over 18 will be able to book their first shot by that deadline.
To further vaccination efforts, President Biden announced a new website that will list locations that have available vaccines. In addition, more than 4,000 active duty troops will be called upon to help support vaccination efforts — bringing the total number of deployed troops to 6,000.
This comes as President Biden, in a surprise move, signed the massive COVID-19 relief bill into law Thursday — a day earlier than planned.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that some Americans will “start seeing those direct deposits in their bank accounts this weekend.”
COVID-19 has infected close to 30 million Americans, killing over 530,000, reports Johns Hopkins University.