There is promising news in the war on the coronavirus. Thursday, President Biden announced the country will have enough vaccine to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of summer.
Not only that, but those who are fully vaccinated may not have to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus.
The president is encouraged because the U.S. is on track to exceed his goal of administering 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office. So far, 26 million shots have been delivered in his first three weeks.
The announcement came during a visit to the National Institutes of Health Thursday. Mr. Biden explained that the U.S. has secured commitments for 200 million more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna to be delivered by the end of July. He added, 100 million doses that had been promised by June will now arrive in May.
"That's a month faster," Biden said. "That means lives will be saved."
It's a grand total of 600 million doses for the US, with Americans needing two shots each.
"That means we're now on track to have enough supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July," Biden said.
"My predecessor, to be very blunt about it, did not do his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans," Biden argued.
More promising news as the president's Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said eligibility should soon open up to any American who wants to be vaccinated.
"I would imagine by the time we get to April, that would be what I call, you know for better wording, open season," Fauci said. "Namely virtually everybody and anybody in any category can start to get vaccinated."
The Biden administration has deployed active-duty troops to help stand up mass vaccination sites in several states in anticipation of increased supply. But for now, frustration as people scramble to get inoculated amid what is still a vaccine crunch.
"This is ridiculous," said one Maryland resident. "Thirty-degree weather, there were people in wheelchairs, walkers. This is ridiculous!"
The current shortage forced hard-hit Los Angeles to shut down a few vaccination sites for days as the new California variant ricochets across the state and the country.
"We don't have enough vaccine," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "Our vaccine supply is uneven, it's unpredictable and too often inequitable."
Meanwhile, the CDC says once people have been fully vaccinated, they no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed to the COVID-19 virus. But officials caution that, for now, they should still wear masks.
"The bottom line is this: masks work," said CDC Director Rochelle Wallensky. "And they work best when they have a good fit and are worn correctly."
Where schools are concerned, the White House says it will follow new guidance from the CDC on when and how schools should reopen. This as critics say the president has been backing away from his pledge to reopen a majority of schools in his first 100 days in office.