US President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a press conference on January 15, 2021 at Biden’s interim headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, about his plan to give vaccines against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to the US population.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Joe Biden plans on Thursday to announce a new target for 200 million Covid vaccine shots within his first 100 days in office, a White House official told NBC News.
As of last Friday, 100 million coronavirus vaccinations had been administered in the United States. This standard – that was Biden’s original goal – was achieved on his 59th day in office.
Biden will discuss the new target on Thursday afternoon at his first press conference as president.
After a slower-than-expected introduction under former President Donald Trump, the rate of vaccination in the US has increased rapidly, receiving an average of 2.5 million doses per day over the past week.
If this vaccination rate is maintained, the 200 million dose target would be reached in about five weeks or around April 23 – a full week before Biden would mark 100 days at the White House.
The federal government has signed a contract with Johnson & Johnson to supply 200 million cans. The first half of this order is expected by the end of June. Merck is helping make J & J’s Shot, which is a single-dose vaccine.
The government has also signed contracts with drug makers Pfizer and Moderna for a total of 600 million doses.
That’s enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans, as both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots three to four weeks apart.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last month approved the deployment of more than 1,000 active troops to support the dispensing of Covid-19 vaccines in the US to speed up the pace of vaccinations.