President Joe Biden on Thursday set a new goal for Covid-19 vaccines in the US: 200 million shots in his first 100 days in office. That’s up from Biden’s original goal of 100 million in 100 days. “I know it is ambitious — twice our original goal,” Biden said.
But the goal of 200 million shots in 100 days is really not that ambitious; it’s achievable if absolutely nothing changes with America’s current vaccine rollout.
That’s a testament to how much America’s vaccine campaign has improved since Biden took office. Before Inauguration Day, the country administered less than 1 million shots a day. Today, the US is at 2.5 million shots a day, on average.
At the current rate, the country could hit Biden’s goal of 200 million shots in 100 days — hitting the goal as soon as April 28, a couple days before Biden’s 100th day in office.
Things stand to improve beyond the current rate. As vaccine manufacturers ramp up production, they’ve already made deals with the federal government to deliver enough vaccines for every adult in the summer. At the very least, that should address questions about the supply of vaccines, though not about distribution or willingness to take them.
Biden previously pledged that the US will have enough vaccines for every adult in the US by the end of May. Getting all of those vaccines into arms will require a distribution boost: At the current rate of 2.5 million shots a day, only about 180 million adults, of roughly 255 million, will be fully vaccinated by the end of May. The US has to do more than 4 million shots a day, on average, by then to fully vaccinate every adult in the US before June.
That will be a challenge, with lots of potential factors involved: whether drug companies can ramping up manufacturing, whether the federal government can ship those vaccines out, whether local and state governments can turn those doses into shots in arms, and whether vaccine hesitancy is sufficiently addressed to get all adults to want the vaccine.
That’s a lot that could go wrong. Biden, for his part, has vowed to get ahead of these issues, dedicating more money to vaccine distribution and public education and awareness efforts, funded in part by the recently enacted Covid-19 relief package.
Now Americans waiting for a shot will have to wait and see if Biden can turn those promises into reality.