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Coronavirus: US to vaccinate everyone aged 16 and older starting April 19


Photo showing a person holding a vial of COVID-19 vaccine while the flag of the United States of America could be seen in the background — Reuters.
  • President Joe Biden is expected to direct states to widen the distribution of vaccines to everyone age 16 and older starting April 19.
  • Biden had earlier said the vaccination drive for younger people will start on May 1.
  • The federal government has ramped up the pace of vaccination as it works to end the COVID-19 epidemic.

WASHINGTON: The United States will widen its coronavirus vaccination drive and will start inoculating everyone aged 16 and above starting from April 19, sources said Tuesday.

So far, the country has administered 150 million COVID-19 shots since President Joe Biden took office.

Biden will direct states to widen the distribution of vaccines to everyone age 16 and older by April 19, two weeks earlier than the May 1 deadline he announced previously.

On Tuesday, the president is scheduled to tour a vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, before making the announcement at the White House around 3:45 p.m. (1945 GMT).

“Governors – Democrats and Republicans – are working with (the White House COVID-19 response team) to accelerate the vaccination program,” White House chief of staff Ron Klain said on Twitter.

The federal government has ramped up the pace of vaccination as it works to end the COVID-19 epidemic. When vaccine doses were in shorter supply, states initially limited distribution to higher-risk groups, such as the elderly and front-line healthcare workers.

Upon taking office in January, Biden set a goal of delivering 100 million shots into people’s arms within his first 100 days in office, which is the end of April. That goal has since been doubled to 200 million shots.

COVID-19 has killed more than 555,000 people in the United States, but more than 167 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country. Four in 10 Americans have had at least one vaccine dose, a rate far ahead of most countries.

The authorized vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech both require two doses, while Johnson & Johnson’s is a one-shot vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for those aged 16 and up, while the other two can be given to adults age 18 and older.

US vaccine distribution began haltingly under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.



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