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Victoria Knight
By Victoria Knight March 19, 2021

58 days in, Biden reaches milestone of 100 million shots within his first 100 days

Running ahead of schedule, President Joe Biden on March 19 deemed his administration's effort to administer 100 million covid-19 vaccine shots within his first 100 days in office a success. 

"I'm proud to announce that tomorrow, 58 days into our administration we will have met my goal of administering 100 million shots to our fellow Americans. That's weeks ahead of schedule, even with the setbacks we faced during the winter storms," said Biden during a March 18 press briefing on the state of vaccinations.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's covid-19 vaccine tracker, more than 115 million vaccines have been administered since the U.S. vaccination campaign began in December 2020. About 12 million of those shots were administered before former President Donald Trump left office. 

Once Biden entered the White House, his administration was able to more than double the rate of shots being administered per day. When Biden took office on Jan. 20, the daily tally was about 900,000 shots. From March 12 to March 19, it has increased to an average of 2.5 million shots per day, according to the Washington Post's and Bloomberg's vaccine trackers. 

To boost the vaccine administration rate, Biden has bought additional vaccine doses, used the Defense Production Act to speed up vaccine production, created mass vaccination sites and increased the number of people who can serve as vaccinators. 

Biden first announced his goal for 100 million shots on Dec. 8. His staff later said the president meant the 100 million doses would translate to 50 million people being fully vaccinated with the two-dose regimens of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, which were the only two vaccines slated to be authorized at the time. 

Now, there is another vaccine, made by Johnson & Johnson, which has also been authorized for use and requires only one dose. 

While the U.S. hasn't yet reached the point of having 50 million people fully vaccinated, the CDC tracker reports that almost 41 million people in the U.S. are. And more than 75 million people have received at least one vaccine dose. 

Since his initial goal for vaccinations has been achieved, it looks like Biden will soon set new objectives, likely building on steps like his announcement last week, asking states to open up vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1.

"I've always said: That's just the floor. We will not stop until we beat this pandemic," he said during the March 18 news briefing. "Next week, I will announce our next goal to put shots in arms." 

We rate this a Promise Kept. 

Our Sources

Victoria Knight
By Victoria Knight March 11, 2021

50 days in, Biden has made significant progress towards reaching his vaccination goal

President Joe Biden promised the month before he took office that he would be singularly focused on delivering vaccines to Americans, with a specific goal of delivering 100 million shots into arms in his first 100 days in office. 

Initially, that 100 million shots translated to 50 million people being fully vaccinated. At the time Biden was inaugurated, only the Pfizer-BioNTech  and Moderna vaccines had been authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. Both vaccines are two-dose regimens. 

Achieving the goal of 100 million shots in 100 days meant vaccines had to be administered at a rate of 1 million or more per day. When Biden took office on January 20, vaccines were being administered at about a rate of 900,000 per day. 

Now on day 50 of his administration, Biden and his team have more than doubled that initial vaccination rate.  

According to both the Washington Post's vaccine tracker and Bloomberg's COVID Vaccine tracker, an average of 2.17 million doses were administered per day in the last week, from March 3 to March 10. Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the president, said during a  coronavirus press briefing March 8, that the U.S. set a record over the previous weekend by administering 2.9 million vaccinations in a day. 

In total, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine tracker reports the U.S. has administered more than 95.7 million vaccine doses. Sixty-two million people have received at least one vaccine dose, and 32 million people are fully vaccinated. The majority of these vaccine administrations have occurred since Biden took office. When former President Donald Trump left the White House about 12 million Americans had been vaccinated. 

It is expected that vaccine supply will increase in the coming months, likely adding to the pace and momentum. 

Since assuming office, the Biden administration bought another 300 million vaccine doses outside of the contracts finalized during the Trump administration. The U.S. so far has purchase agreements in place for a total of 800 million doses of vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 500 million people (The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose). 

Biden also has started using the Defense Production Act (or DPA) to speed up the production of vaccines. In February, the president invoked the DPA to give Pfizer priority for the raw materials and equipment needed to manufacture vaccines. And on March 3, Biden announced that Merck, a drugmaker competitor, had agreed to manufacture J&J's covid-19 vaccine in their facilities. Some J&J facilities have also agreed to operate for 24 hours to boost production. 

With all of these actions to increase vaccine supply and speed up production (and the vaccine administration number already at 95 million), it seems very likely that Biden will reach his goal of 100 million shots well before the end of his first 100 days. And he has also made significant progress towards getting 50 million Americans fully vaccinated, with 32 million receiving their full set of doses so far. 

"I think we are well on track to meet that goal," said Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, a group which represents state public health agencies. 

Recently, Biden has indicated that he's starting to look at what's next if he achieves his 100 million shots in 100 days. At a press conference last week, Biden issued a new promise: that by the end of May, there will be enough vaccines to inoculate every U.S. adult. 

We rate this promise In the Works. 

Our Sources

Bloomberg, "COVID Vaccine Tracker," Accessed March 10, 2021

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID Data Tracker - Vaccinations, Accessed March 10, 2021

Department of Health and Human Services, "Biden Administration purchases additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna," Feb. 11, 2021

Department of Health and Human Services, "Biden Administration Announces Historic Manufacturing Collaboration Between Merck and Johnson & Johnson to Expand Production of COVID-19 Vaccines," March 2, 2021

Email interview with Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, March 9, 2021

KHN, "Biden's Covid Challenge: 100 Million Vaccinations in the First 100 Days. It Won't Be Easy." Jan. 20, 2021

KHN/Politifact, "Biden's criticism of Trump administration vaccine contracts too broad to be accurate," March 5, 2021

NBC News, "Biden to announce plan to purchase additional 100 million Johnson and Johnson Covid vaccine doses," March 10, 2021

The Washington Post, "COVID Vaccine Tracker," Accessed March 10, 2021

The Wayback Machine, "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID Data Tracker - Vaccinations," Accessed March 10, 2021

The White House, "Press Briefing by White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials," March 8, 2021

Victoria Knight
By Victoria Knight January 22, 2021

Biden releases national vaccine strategy with aim to reach 100 million doses goal

It seems likely that when historians look back at President Joe Biden's record, what he'll be judged on is whether his administration was successful in delivering COVID-19 vaccines to all 330 million Americans quickly. 

Biden launched his presidency with big goals for vaccine delivery, promising in December 2020 that he would get "at least 100 million COVID vaccine shots into the arms of the American people in the first 100 days" of his term. 

When first asked about that pledge in December, the Biden team said the president meant 50 million people would get their two-dose regimen. The Biden administration has since updated this plan, saying it will release vaccine doses as soon as they're available instead of holding back some of that supply for second doses.

Regardless of how many people get vaccinated, getting the 100 million shots in 100 days is "attainable," but going to be "extremely challenging," said Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, in a Jan. 13 interview.

To achieve Biden's objective, about 1 million vaccines would need to be administered every day of his first 100 days. Current numbers show vaccine administration is below that. An average of 939,000 have been administered daily in the last week, according to current data on Bloomberg News' COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vaccine Tracker estimates that 17 million total doses have been administered since mid-December when vaccination efforts began. Experts also warn vaccine supply may not be at the levels needed to reach this 100 million. 

Plus, Biden has inherited a vaccine rollout from the Trump administration that has been plagued by sluggishness, due to a lack of communication between the federal government and state and local health departments, insufficient funding for large-scale vaccination efforts, and confusing federal guidance on vaccine distribution. 

Some of the steps that Biden took on his first couple of days in office attempted to address these issues. 

The White House released a 198-page COVID-19 response plan on Jan. 21 which included a section outlining the administration's strategy to "mount a safe, effective, comprehensive vaccination campaign." 

The vaccine strategy section says the government will try to speed up vaccine administration by continuing to recommend vaccinations be made available to anyone over the age of 65, and also by providing states with consistent projections for vaccine supply so they can plan better. Among the many other vaccination initiatives outlined in the document were pledges to: ensure equitable vaccine distribution, compensate providers fairly for administering vaccines, launch a national vaccination public education campaign, build strong data systems to monitor vaccine distribution and secure a large health care workforce to administer the vaccines. 

Biden also issued several executive orders related to fulfilling his vaccination promise. One signed on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, created a new position within the White House of the COVID-19 response coordinator. Jeff Zients, an Obama-era official is filling this role. He will report directly to Biden and direct the federal government's efforts to oversee vaccine distribution, increase testing efforts and improve the supply of personal protective equipment. 

On Day 2 in office, Biden signed another executive order directing the federal government to assess what supply shortfalls existed and, if necessary, use any legal action, including the Defense Production Act, to produce any vaccine materials needed such as glass vials or needles. 

During a Jan. 21 press briefing about the orders, Biden said he will set up 100 federally run-vaccination sites across the country by the end of the first month of his presidency. The sites will be administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

But, the wide-scale vaccination efforts Biden outlined will require funding from Congress, which could be a sticking point. Biden released a $1.9 trillion dollar plan the week before his inauguration that provided a means of funding his vaccine plan. But Republicans have indicated they may not be on board due to the high cost of the legislation. 

These executive orders and national strategic vaccination plan reflect Biden positioning the federal government to take a stronger role in vaccine distribution. 

It's a great starting point especially in aiming to solve some of the vaccine rollout challenges seen under the Trump administration, said Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, such as disjointed communication with states. But, Biden will still need to make sure the federal government is clearly communicating with state and local leaders. 

"They need to engage with their communication people in states before they roll a lot of these things out," said Plescia. "We also need steady leadership and realistic expectations. That's going to be very important in accomplishing this goal." 

It remains to be seen whether these efforts will be enough to increase vaccination to reach 100 million doses by the first 100 days of Biden's presidency, which ends on April 30, 2021. There's much more that could happen over the next three months to either accelerate or hamper this goal. 

We rate this promise In the Works. 

Our Sources

Bloomberg, "COVID Vaccine Tracker," Accessed Jan. 22, 2021

CNN, "Exclusive: Biden will release nearly all available vaccine doses in break from Trump administration policy of holding back stock for second dose," Jan. 8, 2021

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID Data Tracker - Vaccinations, Accessed Jan. 22, 2021

KHN, "Biden's Covid Challenge: 100 Million Vaccinations in the First 100 Days. It Won't Be Easy." Jan. 20, 2021

Phone interview with Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, Jan. 13, 2021.

Phone interview with Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Jan. 22, 2021 

PolitiFact, "What's in Joe Biden's $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan?," Jan. 15, 2021

Rev.com, Joe Biden Speech on COVID-19 Response Transcript January 21, Accessed Jan. 22, 2021

Rev.com, Joe Biden Announces Fauci & Key Health Team Picks Briefing Transcript December 8, Accessed Jan. 22, 2021

The White House, National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, Jan. 21, 2021

The White House, Executive Order on Organizing and Mobilizing the United States Government to Provide a Unified and Effective Response to Combat COVID-19 and to Provide United States Leadership on Global Health and Security, Jan. 20, 2021

The White House, Executive Order on a Sustainable Public Health Supply Chain, Jan. 21, 2021

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