Biden directs states to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on May 1

During his first primetime address to the nation, President Biden directed states to expand eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to all adults on May 1.

Biden touted his administration’s efforts to ramp up vaccine production and provide relief to struggling Americans in the form of a new stimulus bill that aims to help stabilize the economy, beat back the pandemic, and set the stage for a robust economic recovery. The latest stimulus – which provides $1,400 relief checks to eligible Americans, extends unemployment benefits, provides child tax credits, and gives aid to state and local governments – passed the House and Senate this month with only Democratic votes.

In terms of expanding vaccine eligibility, Biden is using his executive authority to direct states, tribes, and territories. The president noted that the expanded eligibility does not mean that a dose will be available for everyone on May 1 but that all adults will be able to sign up. His administration has previously said they expect to have enough doses for all Americans before June. Since the inauguration, over 81 million vaccinations have been administered.

According to the White House, the Biden administration is expanding the number of places where Americans can get vaccinated. The administration says that it will double the number of pharmacies where COVID-19 vaccines are available to 20,000 nationwide. It is also doubling the number of Community Vaccination Centers like the one at United Center. In addition, nearly a thousand community health centers are administering the vaccine, helping to reach low-income, minority, and rural communities.

March marks the one-year anniversary since most of the United States and much of the world went into lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Biden mentioned the Fourth of July as a target for when he expects Americans to be able to gather in groups. Independence Day celebrations were canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Almost a year ago, Governor Pritzker closed bars and dine-in restaurants in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order throughout Illinois on March 20, 2020. The stay-at-home order was lifted at the end of May, but restrictions continued throughout most of the year and into 2021. Restaurants and bars have only recently begun to re-open to dine-in service as cases have dropped and the vaccine rollout has accelerated.

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