U.S. President Joe Biden is announcing Tuesday that every adult in the country will be eligible by April 19 to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, about two weeks earlier than his original May 1 date.
As the available supply of three vaccines expands in the U.S., Biden last week said that about 90% of U.S. adults would be eligible by the April 19 date, but he now is expanding that to all adults who want a shot in the arm.
National polls in the U.S., however, show that about 20% of adults say that for various reasons they will refuse to get vaccinated. Some have said they think it is unnecessary or that the injections could prove to be harmful, while other have expressed distrust in a government-run program.
The percentage opposed to the inoculations has declined over the last several months, as most people vaccinated have reported no or only temporary medical reactions lasting a day or so.
Biden, who was inoculated before taking office in January, is making the announcement at the White House after visiting a vaccination site in suburban Virginia outside Washington.
The latest government figures show that more than 62 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, about 23% of the country’s adult population 18 and older. More than 107 million people have received at least one shot of the two-shot regimen required with either the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, or a smaller group of people with the single-shot doses produced by drug-maker Johnson & Johnson.
Originally, the U.S. made the vaccines available to older people and essential, front-line workers. The new eligibility date in two weeks will give all adults a chance then to schedule appointments for their shots at community health centers, pharmacies, drive-through vaccination sites in parking lots and elsewhere.