As of Monday, every person age 16 and older in the US is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. “It’s free. It’s safe, and it’s how we’re going to bring this pandemic to an end. Get your vaccine,” President Biden tweeted. “Go and get ‘em, folks.”
Biden had originally set a target of May 1 for all adults to be eligible throughout the country, but he moved it forward to April 19 earlier this month. With the addition of Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont expanding eligibility on Monday, the US hit Biden’s goal just in time, according to the New York Times.
This achievement comes as more than 132 million Americans — half of all US adults — have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 85 million Americans are fully vaccinated, or 33 percent of all adults.
“For months I’ve been telling Americans to get vaccinated when it’s your turn. Well, it’s your turn, now,” Biden said Sunday on the “Roll Up Your Sleeves” program on NBC. “It’s free. It’s convenient, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19.”
The Pfizer vaccine is available for people as young as 16, but no vaccines are eligible for younger children yet. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are all studying their vaccines in kids, and Moderna expects that children age 12-17 may be eligible for its vaccine before school starts this fall.
Although you’re eligible for the vaccine now, it may not be as easy as qualifying. The vaccination rate has sped up from 2.5 million doses per day last month to 3.2 million per day now, according to the Times. But many adults are still finding it difficult to schedule their shot.
If vaccination continues at its current pace, 70 percent of the population will be vaccinated by the middle of June. However, as more people are willing to get the vaccine to get it over and done with, the remaining population will be those who are more hesitant, so the pace may slow down. Concerns about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine causing extremely rare blood clots could further fuel vaccine hesitancy.
“We’re making tremendous progress, but we’re still in the race against this virus, and we need to vaccinate tens of millions more Americans,” Biden said on Sunday. “We could have a safe and happy Fourth of July with your family and friends in small groups in your backyard. That’s going to take everyone doing their part. Get vaccinated.”