Joe Biden reveals 50% of over-65s and 75% of people in long-term facility have had at least their first shot as he promises to roll out Johnson & Johnson vaccine as soon as it is approved
- He said nearly 60 per cent of people over 75 have received at least one shot
- Touted new J&J single-shot vaccine, which could get approval Friday
- ‘We have a plan to roll it out as quickly as Johnson & Johnson can make it’
- Said event honoring 50 millionth shot was not a ‘victory lap’
- ‘For God’s sake, wear a mask,’ he urged
President Joe Biden revealed Thursday that nearly half of all Americans over age 65 have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot – as the nation rushes to protect its most vulnerable citizens.
The president highlighted statistical achievements as he touted the 50th vaccine shot delivered in the U.S. – halfway to his goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days.
The rising percentages of older Americans on their way to protection will help mitigate severe illnesses and finally bring down the number of American deaths to the coronavirus. And with more and more of the older Americans getting shots, younger adults will get their turn in the coming weeks.
President Joe Biden said nearly 60 per cent of people over 75 have received at least one shot, at an event marking the 50 millionth U.S. COVID-19 jab
‘We’ve increased vaccination distribution to states by 70 percent,’ Biden said at the White House complex. ‘Nearly 60 per cent of people over the age of 75 have now received at least one shot. It was 14 per cent six weeks ago. And close to 50 per cent of people over the age of 65 have at least one shot now. It was 8 per cent six weeks ago,’ he said.
‘It’s important because people over 65 account for 80 per cent of all the covid deaths,’ he explained. ‘Additionally, about 75 per cent of the people who live in long-term facilities have gotten their first shot. And those cases are at the lowest levels since reporting began in May.’
He touted another reason for optimism, with Johnson & Johnson potentially getting approval for its single-shot vaccine Friday. Biden took pains to say he wouldn’t try to force through approval – with vaccine hesitancy looming as the next great challenge once there is enough vaccine online.
‘What I will say to the American people is this: If the FDA approves the use of this new vaccine, we have a plan to roll it out as quickly as Johnson & Johnson can make it. We’ll use every conceivable way to expand manufacturing of the vaccine, and we’ll make even more rapid progress on overall vaccines in March,’ he said.
One added wrinkle is the firm telling the government it won’t meet initial production targets.
President Joe Biden looks on as a nurse gives a vaccine to Victoria Legerwood Rivera, an Attendance Counselor at Stoddert Elementary School in Northwest DC, as he participates in an event commemorating the 50 million COVID-19 vaccine shot during a ceremony at the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 25 February 2021
Washington, DC firefighter Corey Hamilton hits his jab at the White House event
A Safeway manager also received her shot. Biden warned of vaccine hesitancy as a looming challenge once the nation overcomes logistical issues to get out the first millions of shots
‘The idea of a third safe and effective vaccine is very promising,’ Biden said. ‘The Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, is viewing the data and review recommendations from outside committee of experts that will be meeting tomorrow. Now, let me be clear. We are going to do this the right way. The FDA will decide on emergency use authorization of a vaccine based on science – not due to any political pressure from me or anyone else. No outside factors,’ he vowed.
Biden claimed the event, which lauded the 50 million milestone and featured a grocery store manager and a school counselor among the four people getting a shot, was not a ‘victory lap.’
‘Everything is not fixed. We have a long way to go,’ he said.
His administration has warned about the danger of new variants – and is even sending out 25 million masks to health centers and food banks to try to boost protective measures.
He urged Americans: ‘For God’s sake, for God’s sake, wear a mask.’
After speaking, he had to return to the podium, telling the audience at the South Court Auditorium near the White House: ‘Forgot my mask.’