Joe Biden is taking major steps to get the pandemic-stricken country “closer to normal.”
The president laid out his COVID-19 response plan during his primetime address to the nation on Thursday night, which took take place exactly one year after the pandemic was declared. Biden’s plan reportedly includes using active duty troops to assist with vaccine distribution, as well as his plan to increase vaccine shipments to community health centers and retail pharmacies across the nation. However, one of the biggest highlights in his strategy is an order that will open vaccine eligibility to all US adults by May 1.
The White House touched on the plan in a fact sheet published Thursday afternoon:
Today, in the next phase of our vaccination effort, the President will announce that he will direct states, Tribes, and territories to make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine no later than May 1st. The White House COVID-19 Response Team has concluded that our accelerated vaccination efforts will enable prioritized vaccinations to be far enough along by end of April that all eligibility restrictions for vaccinations can be lifted by May 1st.
The eligibility criteria for vaccine distribution varies by jurisdiction. Some counties have limited vaccinations to citizens over a certain age (typically 65), essential workers, and other high-risk groups.
It’s important to note that the plan doesn’t necessarily mean all adults will be vaccinated by May 1, but rather all states will be directed to lift all eligibility requirements for adults at the time. Biden also announced the Fourth of July as a target date to resume small gatherings with friends and family.
“The President will talk about small gatherings, like a barbecue in your backyard, in your neighborhood,” a senior administration official told CNN. “He will be clear that does not mean large events where lots of people gather. But it does mean that we can once again have an Independence Day with small gatherings and celebrations and that’s a big step in the right direction.”
Biden’s address aired just hours after he signed a $1.9 trillion relief package that will send a third round of stimulus checks to most tax-paying Americans.
You can watch Biden’s address below.