President Biden pledged more coronavirus vaccines for states and said the country will have enough doses for every American by the end of July, one day after a group of governors slammed the “unnecessary confusion” associated with the rollout.
Biden said during a CNN town hall on Tuesday that “by the end of July, we’ll have over 600 million doses — enough to vaccinate every single American.”
Earlier in the day, his administration announced that states would receive a combined 13.5 million doses per week from the federal government, up from 11 million.
“We have made significant strides increasing the number of vaccinators,” Biden said. “Plus you’ve opened up a considerable number of locations where you can get the vaccinations.”
Biden touted his team’s efforts to increase vaccine supply, distribution and administration one day after Gov. Charlie Baker and other National Governors Association Executive Committee members sent him a letter expressing concern over the rollout.
The bipartisan group called for clearer reporting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying its current tracker causes “unnecessary confusion” by failing to distinguish between state and federal vaccination efforts. And the governors warned that federal distribution channels, including through pharmacies, that operate separately from states could cause “redundancy and inefficiency.”
“This is a process and it’s going to take time,” Biden said on Tuesday.
Biden said teachers should receive higher vaccine priority. And he reiterated his pledge to reopen the majority of K-8 schools by the end of his first 100 days in office, saying he believes “we’ll be close to that” and setting a goal of reopening five days a week.
But as Biden called to “move them up in the hierarchy,” he also said it’s up to states to decide what order teachers and other residents receive vaccines — a list that’s currently prompting consternation in Massachusetts.
“I can make recommendations,” Biden said, but “I can’t tell the state you must move such and such a group of people up.”
The Baker administration is expected to announce more details on eligibility on Wednesday, state officials said. As of Tuesday afternoon, a COVID-19 command center spokeswoman said the state, which receives upward of 103,000 to 106,000 doses per week, had “not yet received details from the federal government about an increase in vaccine shipments specific to Massachusetts.”
Biden generally worked to steer the conversation clear of former President Donald Trump during his town hall, saying that for the next four years “I want to make sure all the news is the American people” and that any “prosecutorial decisions” relating to his predecessor “will be left to the Justice Department, not me.”