WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden announced Thursday evening that he will direct states to make all adults, ages 18 and up, eligible for the coronavirus vaccines by May 1.
Biden, in his first primetime address to the nation, also set a goal for Americans to be able to gather in person with their friends and loved ones in small groups to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Biden delivered the announcements on the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, reflecting with anguish on its devastation while offering hope that better days could soon be coming — if Americans don’t get complacent.
“If we all do our part, this country will be vaccinated soon, our economy will be on the mend, our kids will be back in school, and we’ll have proven once again that this country can do anything,” Biden said.
But “if we don’t stay vigilant, and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track,” Biden added. “And please, we don’t want to do that again. We’ve made so much progress. This is not the time to let up.”
“Just as we were emerging from the dark winter into a hopeful spring and summer, [now] is not the time to not stick with the rules,” he said.
Biden also said in the speech that his administration in May will launch a website to help people find nearby vaccination sites, and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will issue new guidance about health and safety for those who have been vaccinated.
The address from the East Room of the White House began just after 8 p.m. ET, and lasted about 25 minutes.