Biden pledges vaccine for every adult by end of May

U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday said the country was on track to have enough vaccines for every adult by the end of May.

That's 300 million doses - to be ready two months sooner than his original target of the end of July.

"Let me say that again: When we came into office, the prior administration had contracted for not nearly enough vaccine to cover adults in America. We rectified that. / This country will have enough vaccine supply, I'll say it again, by the end of May."

Vaccine production is getting a huge boost by a new partnership Biden announced Tuesday, in which pharmaceutical company Merck will help make rival Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine.

With three vaccines now available, including Pfizer and Moderna's, he said he was confident of reaching his goal of delivering 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office.

And he stressed the importance of reopening schools - citing growing mental health concerns and the risk of widening disparities caused by the challenges of remote learning - and threw down the gauntlet to local officials.

"We want every educator, school staff member, child care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March."

To meet that goal, Biden said the federal pharmacy program would prioritize the vaccination of pre-K through 12 educators and staff, as well as child care workers.

He said he's still aiming to have most schools open by the end of his first 100 days, but said that required passage of the $1.9 trillion rescue plan currently working its way through Congress.

"Now's not the time to let our guard down."

Biden also implored Americans to remain vigilant in their fight against the pandemic, by abiding protocols such as wearing face masks.

But that advice came on the same day Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued the most sweeping rollback of restrictions of any U.S. state, saying Tuesday that most businesses in the state may open at full capacity next week and lifting the statewide mask mandate.

Video Transcript

- US President Joe Biden on Tuesday said the country was on track to have enough vaccines for every adult by the end of May. That's 300 million doses to be ready two months sooner than his original target of the end of July.

JOE BIDEN: Let me say that again. When we came into office, the prior administration had contracted for not nearly enough vaccine to cover adults in America. We rectified that. This country will have enough vaccine supply-- I'll say it again-- for every adult in America by the end of May.

- Vaccine production is getting a huge boost by a new partnership Biden announced Tuesday, in which pharmaceutical company Merck will help make rival Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. With three vaccines now available, including Pfizer and Moderna's, he said he was confident of reaching his goal of delivering 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office.

And he stressed the importance of reopening schools, citing growing mental health concerns and the risk of widening disparities caused by the challenges of remote learning, and threw down the gauntlet to local officials.

JOE BIDEN: We want every educator, school staff member, child care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March.

- To meet that goal, Biden said the Federal Pharmacy Program would prioritize the vaccination of pre-K through 12 educators and staff, as well as child care workers. He said he's still aiming to have most schools open by the end of his first 100 days, but said that required passage of the $1.9-trillion rescue plan currently working its way through Congress.

JOE BIDEN: Now's not the time to let our guard down.

- Biden also implored Americans to remain vigilant in their fight against the pandemic by abiding to protocols, such as wearing face masks. But that advice came on the same day Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued the most sweeping rollback of restrictions of any US state, saying Tuesday that most businesses in the state may open at full capacity next week, and lifting the statewide mask mandate.