Washington (AP) – According to President Joe Biden, the US will have enough corona vaccine for all adults in the country by the end of May.
So far, Biden had strived to reach this milestone in the fight against the virus, which is rampant around the world, by the end of July. In addition, all teachers, school staff and educators should receive at least the first dose of a vaccine this month to speed up the resumption of normal school activities, Biden further promised. At the same time, several states relaxed their corona requirements – Texas was moving forward particularly optimistically.
Biden’s announcement followed the approval of a third vaccine in the United States and successful government efforts to further increase production of the compounds. “We are moving in the right direction. Today’s announcements are a huge step in the effort to deal with this pandemic, ”said Biden. At the same time, he warned the Americans to continue to take the necessary precautions. “This battle is far from over.” New variants of the virus or other developments could reverse recent advancements, he warned.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency approval for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine on Saturday. The company has signed a contract with the US government to deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine by the end of June. Thanks to government support, which includes round-the-clock production, delivery can now take place at the end of May, according to the Ministry of Health.
In addition, the new vaccine is now also produced by the competing pharmaceutical company Merck. The government will pay Merck seed funding of about $ 270 million (about $ 225 million), the company said. The experienced vaccine manufacturer does not yet have its own vaccine against the corona virus in its program. Initially, it remained unclear until when Merck would produce how many doses of the Johnson & Johnson preparation.
Biden also announced that he would direct states to give preference to teachers, school staff and educators for vaccinations where this has not already been done. “We want every educator, school worker and child caregiver to get at least one vaccination by the end of March,” said Biden. It is imperative to get children back to class safely as soon as possible.
The US government will each receive 300 million doses each by the end of July from the manufacturers of the two previously approved vaccines, Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna. Two doses are required for each vaccination; the amount alone would thus be enough to provide for all of the nearly 260 million adults in the country. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is effective after just one injection. So far the vaccines have only been approved for adults.
According to data from the CDC’s health authority, nearly 52 million people in the US have received at least one vaccination so far, and over 26 million people have already received both vaccinations.
The great state of Texas will lift the mask requirement and all capacity limits for restaurants and other businesses starting next Wednesday. “Now is the time to open Texas 100 percent,” said Republican Governor Greg Abbott. In view of the successful vaccination campaign, the time for economic constraints is over. The southern state’s roughly 29 million residents remain called to follow medical advice to stem the pandemic. But it no longer needs government regulations, Abbott said.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves also said all masks and capacity restrictions on restaurants and businesses would be ended. “It’s time,” the Republican wrote on Twitter. About three million people live in the state. Other states, including Ohio and Michigan, have at least announced that they are relaxing their corona requirements.
The head of the US health authority CDC had just warned on Monday not to rush to lift the restrictions. Corona expert Ashish Jha of Brown University in Providence noted on Twitter that by lifting the corona requirements, Governor Abbott was “taking a great risk in people’s lives.” Senior Corona adviser Biden, Andy Slavitt, called the Texas and Mississippi announcements a “mistake.”
The number of new infections in the US has fallen sharply since the beginning of the year – from more than 200,000 a day to more than 60,000 on average. However, experts warn there may be another increase due to the new variants of the virus.
Since the pandemic started just over a year ago, US authorities have reported nearly 29 million confirmed infections and 516,000 deaths related to the coronavirus.