President Joe Biden has warned about the impact of new Covid-19 variants on the United States’ cases and hospitalisations, as his administration administers its 50 millionth vaccine dose since taking office.
“Covid cases and hospitalisations are coming down,” Mr Biden said, “but cases and hospitalisations could go back up with new variants that emerge.”
He warned that it was “no time to relax” when it came to Covid-19 mitigation efforts as more and more of the American public receives a vaccine. “We must keep washing our hands, stay social distanced, and for God’s sake, God’s sake, wear a mask.”
This warning came as the Biden administration celebrated its 50 millionth Covid vaccine dose since taking office on 20 January.
Mr Biden vowed at the start of his presidency that his administration would administer at least 100 million vaccine doses within his first 100 days of his presidency. On day 37, the Biden administration hit the halfway mark for that goal.
“All things are improving, and we’re going from a mess we inherited to moving in the right direction at a significant speed,” Mr Biden said. “This is not a victory lap. Everything is not fixed. We have a long way to go.”
Although he warned against the new variants, Mr Biden also gave good news to the American public. This week the United States was administering 12 million vaccine doses. This was double the six million being administered per week when he took office.
Mr Biden also confirmed that the United States was on track to have enough vaccine doses to vaccinate all Americans by the end of July. His administration would be launching a “massive campaign to educate people about vaccines, that they are safe and effective and where to go to get those shots in the first place”.
The recent news about a Food and Drug Administration analysis of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine was also mentioned during his speech.
“If the FDA approves the use of this new vaccine, we have a plan to roll it out as quickly as Johnson & Johnson can produce it,” Mr Biden said.
An independent committee would review clinical data from Johnson & Johnson and vote on Friday if they would support the FDA granting emergency use authorisation to the company’s vaccine. All signs indicated the US could have its third Covid-19 vaccine within the coming days after an FDA analysis found Johnson & Johnson’s jab was effective and safe against the novel virus.
Mr Biden said he could not offer the public a date on when the country might be back to normal following the pandemic, but he reaffirmed that they were one step closer given the positive Covid-19 vaccine news.
“I can only promise that we’ll work as hard as we can to make that day come as soon as possible,” he said. “Remember, we can do this. This is the United States of America. There is nothing we can’t do when we do it together. It’s not over, but we’re getting close.”