April 20, 2021 -- All adults in the U.S. became eligible for COVID-19 vaccination on Monday, with all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico meeting President Joe Biden’s April 19 deadline to open eligibility.
Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont were the final states to broaden their vaccine priority to everyone ages 16 and older on Monday. The original May 1 deadline was moved up to April 19 to allow all adults to qualify for inoculation against COVID-19.
“No more confusing rules. No more confusing restrictions,” Biden said during a news conference 2 weeks ago when he bumped up the deadline.
“Let me be deadly earnest with you: We aren’t at the finish line,” he said. “We still have a lot of work to do. We’re still in a life-and-death race against this virus.”
More than 132 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest CDC tally updated on Monday. And 50.7% of people ages 18 and older have received at least one dose. In addition, 85 million people -- or a third of the adult population -- are considered fully vaccinated.
The U.S. is nearing Biden’s updated goal of administering 200 million shots during his first 100 days in office. Public health officials are encouraging people to help their family members and friends find vaccines through local pharmacies, mass vaccination sites, and retail chains such as CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens that are offering vaccines at thousands of locations across the country, according to CBS News.
“There are so many Americans that still think getting a vaccine is a complicated, confusing process because, when it rolled out, indeed it was more challenging and more difficult,” Andy Slavitt, the White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response, said during a news briefing on Monday.
The U.S. has increased the pace of vaccinations during the past few months, now administering between 3 million and 4 million shots per day, he said. At the same time, the country is facing a “complicated” stage of the pandemic where cases and hospitalizations are still increasing in some locations as coronavirus variants spread, he said.
“We need to remind people that it’s easy because there’s a lot of people that want to get vaccinated, but they think it might be challenging. It has never been easier,” Slavitt said. “If you’re over 16, you’re very likely to be very close to a vaccination location with an appointment near you, so please take advantage of that.”