(CNN/KDKA) — President Joe Biden announced on Monday afternoon that 90% of adults will be eligible to get a coronavirus vaccine within the next three weeks as well have a vaccination site within five miles of where they live.
Here in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf has set the deadline of scheduling appointments for everyone in Phase 1A by March 31 .READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine To Remain In Limbo While Officials Seek More Evidence
Biden said the U.S. would increase the number of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy vaccination program from the current 17,000 locations to 40,000. He also announced a record 33 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be made available to vaccination sites this week — a surge in availability that the administration hopes will mean newly eligible adults can find shots.
President Biden announces that at least 90 percent of American adults will be eligible for the COVID vaccine and live within 5 miles of a place to get a shot by April 19 https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/MXXF4dG6WM
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 29, 2021
Additionally, the White House said the federal government “will stand up a dozen more mass vaccination sites by April 19.” The administration will also establish a new transportation program in partnership with community organizations to get at-risk seniors and people with disabilities access to the vaccines.
Last week, Biden announced a new coronavirus vaccine goal of 200 million vaccine doses in arms in his first 100 days in office. He cleared his initial goal — 100 million doses of the vaccine into arms by his first 100 days in office — on day 58 of his presidency.
The President announced on March 11 that he would order states to open up vaccine eligibility to all U.S. adults by May 1. Gov. Wolf has said that the state was also aiming for that date.
Monday’s announcement came hours after administration officials charged with the federal COVID-19 response expressed worry about the current trajectory of coronavirus cases around the country.READ MORE: Multiple Ballot Questions Face Voters In This Year's Primary
After announcing that the US has surpassed 30 million cases of COVID-19, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a virtual White House briefing on Monday she had a feeling of “impending doom,” adding that “right now, I’m scared.”
“Now is one of those times when I have to share the truth, and I have to hope and trust you will listen. I’m going to pause here. I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Walensky said, appearing to tear up.
Walensky also said she would be speaking with governors on Tuesday to “buckle down” on states reopening too quickly.
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller talked with infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh Adalja who said he’s “not surprised” by the increase in case counts because the people who are out and socializing and spreading the virus right now are the same people who can’t get a vaccine dose.
But Dr. Adalja said it’s far from doom and gloom since we’re seeing significantly lower deaths and hospitalizations.
For example, we’re seeing some of the lowest numbers of COVID-related deaths in Allegheny County right now. Across the Commonwealth, case counts dropped down in February but are crawling back up recently.
Dr. Adalja said we’re transitioning into a different type of public health problem, asking, “How do we control the spread amongst people who are considered low risk?”
“If we don’t start vaccinating those lower risk groups, you’re going to see continued spread, continued disruption from that virus, but it won’t be that same type of scenario that we had, for example, in the winter where we were worried about hospital capacity. where we were seeing deaths. That’s going to be a little bit different, but we will see more events being disrupted by COVID-19, especially as people want to get back to activities and athletics,” said Dr. Adalja.
Dr. Adalja believes the new goal should be to get the vaccine to anyone who wants it. He added we’re not going to get to “COVID zero” but it’s also “not sustainable to keep cases this high,” he said. He said he believes our statewide case count Monday “really underscores the need” for Pennsylvania to start prioritizing doses to those who haven’t yet had access.MORE NEWS: Parents Say Pine-Richland Head Football Coach Eric Kasperowicz And Entire Coaching Staff Will Not Return In Fall
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