President Joe Biden will announce on Thursday night that he’s directing states, tribes, and territories to make all adults in the US eligible for COVID-19 vaccination by May 1, a key part of moving the country into the next phase of battling the pandemic.
Despite expanding vaccine eligibility to all adults by the beginning of May, senior Biden administration officials stressed that they’re still expecting that the US won’t have enough vaccine supply for all adults until the end of the month.
The announcement, which will be the focus of Biden’s national address Thursday, marks a sharp shift toward federal control over the pandemic response. Vaccination to this point has largely been led by individual states, which have also been tasked with setting eligibility requirements.
More than 98 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the US so far. The Biden administration hopes this next push will help get the nation back to a more normal place by July 4.
The administration is planning to couple expanded vaccine eligibility with efforts to ramp up vaccination sites across the country by doubling the number of pharmacies where people can get vaccinated, expanding community health centers, and doubling the number of federal mass vaccination sites.
The administration will launch a federally funded national website to find vaccine appointments and plans to launch a call center by May 1. Senior administration officials said that the White House will also offer support to improve state-run vaccination websites.