The White House, with new funding from the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan Biden signed hours earlier, is planning to open a slew of new vaccination sites and surge medical personnel across the country to help meet that goal. That includes doubling the number of mass vaccine sites and pharmacies where people can get the shots.
Bidens health department will also expand the pool of people qualified administer vaccines to include a wide range of medical professionals, including paramedics, dentists and medical and health care students.
But the May 1 deadline for opening eligibility could irk some states, and risk further driving a wedge between the White House and governors who have sought control over their respective vaccination efforts. Some state leaders have already bristled at Bidens order earlier this month to prioritize educators for vaccines a directive that caught them off guard.
Senior administration officials insisted that Biden has the authority to force states, tribes and jurisdictions to make the vaccine available to all American adults, and that they would be well-positioned to do so by May as supply ramps up.
Thats much earlier than expected, and reflects our success working with the vaccine manufacturers to increase supply and secure doses, a senior administration official said. That doesnt mean everyone will get a shot immediately. But May 1 is the day every adult will be eligible to sign up.
The administration also plans to deploy more than 4,000 troops to aid the vaccination push, and will start delivering vaccines to an additional 700 community health centers. It plans to launch a website and call center by May 1 dedicated to helping Americans book vaccine appointments.
Biden is expected to outline a series of steps aimed at reopening schools as well, backed with new funding from the stimulus package Democrats passed without Republican votes. That will include pouring $130 billion into helping schools pay for the supplies needed to renovate their classrooms to meet Centers for Disease Control recommendations, the officials said, as well as to hire more staff.
The government will also invest $650 million into expanding testing in K-8 schools, as well as congregate settings in underserved communities a measure that the officials characterized as a short-term bridge to a more robust testing regime.
The fight is far from over, we still have a lot of work to do, a senior administration official said, previewing Bidens message. But together, unified, we can defeat this pandemic and we can celebrate a more normal Fourth of July gathering with family and friends in small groups.