WASHINGTON – The U.S. on Friday cleared President Joe Biden's goal of injecting 100 million coronavirus shots, more than a month before his target date of his 100th day in office, as the president prepared to set his sights higher in the nationwide vaccination effort.
With the nation now administering about 2.5 million shots per day, Biden, who promised to set a new goal for vaccinations next week, teased the possibility of setting a 200 million dose goal by his 100th day in office.
“We may be able to double it," he told reporters before leaving the White House for Atlanta. His comments come as the U.S. is on pace to have enough of the three currently authorized vaccines to cover the entire adult population just 10 weeks from now.
As the pace of U.S. vaccinations and supply improves, the White House said the nation is now in position to help supply neighbors Canada and Mexico with millions of lifesaving shots.
The Biden administration on Thursday revealed the outlines of a plan to “loan” a limited number of vaccines to Canada and Mexico as the president announced the U.S. was on the cusp of meeting his 100-day injection goal “way ahead" of schedule.
Coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said Friday that 2.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine would go to Mexico and 1.5 million would be sent to Canada. He emphasized that because the AstraZeneca shot is not yet authorized in the U.S., “This loan will not reduce the supply of vaccine to Americans."
“Our first priority remains vaccinating the U.S. population,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday. But she added that “ensuring our neighbors can contain the virus is a mission critical step, is mission critical to ending the pandemic.”
The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been authorized for use in the U.S. but has been by the World Health Organization. Tens of millions of doses have been stockpiled in the U.S., waiting for emergency use authorization, and that has sparked an international outcry that lifesaving vaccine is being withheld when it could be used elsewhere. The White House said just 7 million of the AstraZeneca doses are ready for shipment.