“As expected, the pace of vaccinations is slowing down now that a majority of American adults have already had their first injection,” Biden said in a White House address. “Soon we will have reached the adults who are most eager to be vaccinated, and at this point that effort will change… Now we are going to have to get the vaccine to the people who are less eager. “
Mr Biden said the administration will “make it easier than ever” to get a vaccine as the United States enters a “new phase” of the vaccination campaign.
The president said the administration is launching new efforts to achieve its goal by ordering pharmacies to offer walk-in vaccines, deploying mobile vaccination clinics, increasing funding for community outreach and encouraging young people. to get vaccinated if and when a vaccine is approved for use in adolescents. He directed Americans to a new website, vaccines.gov, to find a nearby vaccination site.
As of Monday, more than 104 million adults, or 40% of the adult population, were fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The percentage of adults who had at least one injection was 56.3%.
La Food and Drug Administration estPfizer and BioNTech vaccine for use in adolescents early next week. The president said the administration was ready to start vaccinating young people as soon as the agency approves its use.
“I want American parents to know, if this announcement comes, we are ready to act immediately… to prepare approximately 20,000 pharmacies across the country to vaccinate these teens as soon as the FDA grants approval,” Biden said. .
The new push to reach the unvaccinated comes as states have started to lift restrictions related to the pandemic and demand for vaccines has slowed. The Biden administrationTuesday, that it was shifting the vaccine dose rollout to allow unordered vaccines to be shipped to other states with higher demand, several officials familiar with the plan told CBS News.
Under the new plan, if a state does not need as many doses as it has been allocated based on its population, those doses will be diverted to a new federal pool that could be operated by other states. with higher demand. States could order up to 50% more than their weekly allowance, officials said. But they stressed that it was not a “use it or lose it” system.
At least 25 states have told CBS News they haven’t ordered all of the available doses assigned to them for this week.
The president said the shift in focus to convincing Americans to get the vaccine was in some ways easier than the administration’s early efforts to speed up production and distribution of the vaccine, but recognized the challenge of convincing Americans skeptical of getting vaccinated.
“I think that in the end, most people will be convinced that their inability to get vaccinated can cause other people to get sick and even die,” Biden said. “And so, in a way, it’s easier because I don’t have to put in this massive logistical effort. But the other way around, it’s more difficult – it’s beyond my personal control. “
The CDC last week unveiled updated guidelines detailing activities that vaccinated people can safely resume, including relaxing mask use in most outdoor environments. More than 577,000 Americans have died from the virus and there were nearly 30,000 new cases on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Corey Rangel, Ed O’Keefe and Max Bayer contributed reporting.