Biden Pledges 200mn Vaccines by end of April, Europe Clashes Anew
26 Mar 2021 · 3rd Party Analysis
- Joe Biden promises 200mn shots in American arms by end of April
- Europe remains at loggerheads over vaccine distribution, leaders clash in online summit
US President Joe Biden on Thursday upgraded his Covid-19 vaccine goal from the initial number of 100 million doses administered that was reached in his first 58 days. The new goal now stands at 200 million. The President said he is certain that the new goal will be achieved. The announcement was made during his first news conference as US President.
“I know it’s ambitious — twice our original goal — but no other country in the world has even come close, not even close, to what we’re doing. I believe we can do it,” the President said. He also praised the efforts by health authorities who managed to vaccinate over 100 million people in his first 100 days. “We met that goal last week by Day 58 — 42 days ahead of schedule”.
The new goal will aim to secure 200mn vaccine jabs in Americans by the end of April. Currently, health officials have vaccinated a little over 133 million people across the states, meaning that they will need to administer fewer than 70 million vaccine doses in the next 35 days, or an average of 2 million per day. The vaccine rollout has seen new cases come down as vaccine makers have ramped up production and expect to deliver over 130 million doses in the next quarter.
During his first presidential press conference, Joe Biden also mentioned the passing of the $1.9tn stimulus bill. “Since we passed the American Rescue Plan, we’re starting to see new signs of hope in our economy,” Mr Biden said, also highlighting the relief had prompted economists to upgrade their growth projections for the US in 2021. “They’re now projecting it will exceed 6% growth in GDP,” he said. Last week the Federal Reserve, led by Chairman Jerome Powell, signalled it expects the economic growth to reach 6.5% this year. This would mark the fastest expansion in the US economy since the 1980s.
Europe Vaccination Efforts Staggers
Overseas, European leaders remain at loggerheads over vaccine distribution among EU member states. In a tense virtual summit yesterday, EU leaders argued over vaccine supply and they failed to come to an agreement. The debate was focused on how to provide additional doses to countries most affected by the vaccine shortfall and need emergency supplies. The online videoconference, which ended with no resolution, sparked a conflict of opinion between Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Germany’s Angela Merkel. Mr Kurz insisted Austria received additional vaccine supplies given that it has been affected by AstraZeneca’s delivery shortfalls. In response, Ms Merkel rejected the demand and suggested more doses to be delivered in Eastern European countries that are trailing behind the bloc.
Over the past week, EU heads of states have been arguing how to distribute about 10 million Pfizer vaccines. Austria’s Sebastian Kurz has said he would veto any deal that does not include additional doses for his country.
“There is no sense in us turning on each other,” said European Parliament President David Sasoli. “The more unity we show, the more trust we will inspire,” he added. “Salvation lies in working together.”
So far, the European Union has administered 62 million doses to people in the bloc.