In his first primetime address as president, Joe Biden said all adult Americans will be eligible to get the COVID vaccine no later than May 1.
“Let me be clear: That doesn’t mean everyone’s going to have that shot immediately, but it means you’ll be able to get in line,” Biden said Thursday night from the White House before urging Americans to do “their parts” and get vaccinated.
“I will not relent until we beat this virus,” Biden said. “I need you, the American people. I need you. I need every American to do their part. That’s not hyperbole. I need you. I need you to get vaccinated when it’s your turn and when you can find an opportunity,” he continued.
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As part of the expedited vaccination process, the president intends to deploy an additional 4,000 active-duty troops to support the administering of shots. Additionally, the Biden administration will launch a website by May 1 to help people find vaccines, per New York Times.
The president noted that if Americans do their part and get vaccinated, the nation can return to near-normal right in time for Fourth of July celebrations “where we not only mark our independence as a nation, but we also begin to mark our independence from this virus,” he said.
During his message to the nation, President Biden paid tribute to the 530,000 Americans who have died from the virus.
“We all lost something, a collective suffering, a collective sacrifice,” he said. “But in the loss, we saw how much there was to gain.” However he warned, “if we don’t stay vigilant, and the conditions change, we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track.”
“Please,” the president pleaded, “we don’t want to do that again.”
Biden also used his prime-time address to condemn the alleged “hate crimes” against Asian Americans.
“So many of them are fellow Americans, are on the frontlines of this pandemic trying to save lives – and still are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America,” he said. “It’s wrong. It’s un-American. And it must stop.”
President Biden signed an executive order in January to combat racism toward Asian Americans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Former President Donald Trump frequently referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus.”
“Today, I’m directing federal agencies to combat the resurgence of xenophobia, particularly against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, that we’ve seen skyrocket during this pandemic. This is unacceptable and it’s un-American,” Biden said at the time in remarks at the White House. “I’ve asked the Department of Justice to strengthen its partnership with the Asian American Pacific Islander community to prevent those hate crimes. I’ve also asked the Department of Health and Human Services to put out best practices for combatting xenophobia in our national response to COVID.”
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President Biden began his address on Thursday by taking aim at his predecessor and Trump’s handling of the initial outbreak of the coronavirus last March.
“A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked,” Biden said. “Denials for days, weeks, and months. That led to more deaths. More infections, more stress and more loneliness.”
On Wednesday, Trump released a statement in which he reminded Americans that they have his administration to thank for the COVID vaccines.
“I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all,” read the statement. “I hope everyone remembers!”
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