Biden announces all adults eligible for Covid vaccine by April 19

WASHINGTON: All adults across America will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccines within two weeks, President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday, as economic powerhouse California set a June 15 target to fully reopen businesses.
The positive news from the United States — which has reported the most coronavirus deaths of any country but is now a leader in vaccine distribution — contrasted with a record daily toll in Brazil and Europe’s troubled rollout of the AstraZeneca shot.
Biden announced in a White House speech that he is moving up the deadline for all over 18 to be eligible for vaccines to April 19. The previous target had been May 1.
“Our vaccine programme is in overdrive. We’re making it easier to get a vaccination shot,” Biden told the nation. “We’re the first country to administer 150 million shots and the first country to fully vaccinate over 62 million people.”
Biden’s April 19 deadline means ending restrictions by age, health issues or other categories for people wanting to get vaccinated.
It would not necessarily mean that anyone could get a shot immediately, as distribution remains a work in progress.
Visiting a vaccination site in Virginia earlier, Biden said that while the worst of the pandemic is “not over yet,” vaccines mean it soon could be.
The news comes as California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state will fully reopen by June 15 if the current rate of vaccinations continues, lifting all Covid-related restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
“We’ll be getting rid of the blueprint, as you know it today. That’s on June 15 if we continue the good work,” said Newsom, adding that mask-wearing requirements would remain.
Some 556,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, by far the highest toll reported in any country.
The International Monetary Fund meanwhile said accelerated vaccines and a flood of government stimulus spending, especially in the United States, meant it now predicts global economic growth this year of 6 per cent, up from a forecast of 5.5 per cent in January. — AFP