WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden celebrated the milestone of 50 million COVID-19 vaccine doses on Thursday, just days after remembering the lives lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris celebrated the milestone at a White House ceremony along with Dr. Anthony Fauci. The moment came days after Biden remembered the 500,000 lives that have been lost to the virus. The United States crossed the grim milestone on Monday and as of this writing has hit an additional 7,000 deaths.
“The more people get vaccinated, the faster we’re going to beat this pandemic,” Biden said. “We’re halfway there: 50 million shots in 37 days. That’s weeks ahead of schedule.”
45 million Americans have received at least one dose of the Pfizer and Moderna since it got approval from the Food and Drug Administration late last year and 20 million receiving both required doses.
The President said he plans to visit a U.S.-military run vaccination site in Houston on Friday.
Biden made note of the promised third vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, who are seeking approval from the FDA over its single-dose shot.
“We have a plan to roll it out as quickly as Johnson & Johnson can make it,” he said.
As a part of the milestone moment, emergency medical technicians, a school counselor and a grocery store worker all took the vaccine live on air. This was part of the White House’s strategy to invoke confidence about the shot.
Despite the good news, Biden stressed the variants could continue to spread, which could cause the cases and hospitalizations to rise again. He made a plea to Americans to social continue their distancing measures and wear masks.
“I want to make something really very clear: This is not a time to relax,” Biden said. “We must keep washing our hand, stay socially distanced and for god’s sake — for god’s sake, wear a mask.”