President Biden said on Tuesday that every American who wanted a Covid-19 vaccination would be able to get one by the end of July, striking a more optimistic tone than he delivered last week when he warned that logistical and distribution hurdles would most likely mean that many people would still not have been vaccinated by the end of the summer.
Mr. Biden made the comment in Milwaukee during a town-hall-style meeting hosted by CNN. When the host, Anderson Cooper, asked him when every American who wanted a vaccine was “going to be able to get a vaccine” Mr. Biden replied without hesitation: “By the end of July this year.”
He then qualified the remark slightly, telling Mr. Cooper that the doses would “be available” by then. But he also said he did not expect it to take months to get the shots into people’s arms.
At a time when Americans are yearning to get back to what life was like before the pandemic, Mr. Biden sought to offer reassurance tempered with reality.
While the president said he did not want to “overpromise,” he said at one point that “by next Christmas I think we’ll be in a very different circumstance, God willing, than we are today.” At another point he predicted that by the time the next school year starts in September, the nation would be “significantly better off than we are today.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidelines that urge school districts to reopen as soon as possible if they follow safety precautions.
Last week, the Biden administration said it had secured 200 million more doses of coronavirus vaccines, enough to inoculate every American adult. The additional doses amount to a 50 percent increase in supply, and will give the administration enough in total to cover 300 million people by the end of the summer.
But Mr. Biden warned at the time that it would still be difficult to get those shots into people’s arms. “It’s one thing to have the vaccine,” Mr. Biden said then. “It’s another thing to have vaccinators.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Biden used his bully pulpit to urge Americans to get vaccinated, addressing questions about the efficacy of the vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, which has not yet been granted emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. That vaccine has been shown to be slightly less efficacious against some of the more contagious variants of the coronavirus than the two vaccines already in use, one by Moderna and other by Pfizer BioNTech. Mr. Biden said Americans needed to take it if it was offered.
“The clear notion is if you’re eligible, if it’s available, get the vaccine,” he said. “Get the vaccine.”
As winter storms threatened to upend distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, the White House on Tuesday said that states collectively would begin receiving 13.5 million doses each week — a jump of more than two million doses due in part to a shift in the way the government is allocating doses of Pfizer’s vaccine. And Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said that a new federal pharmacy program would provide two million weekly doses, a doubling of its initial supply.
The increases were welcome developments for state officials desperate to…