President Biden announced Tuesday that he is moving up the deadline for states to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to all U.S. residents 18 and older by about two weeks. Less than a month after directing states to expand eligibility to all adults by May 1, Biden changed that deadline to April 19.
"No more confusing rules, no more confusing restrictions," Biden said.
The president made his announcement after visiting a vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, an Episcopal institution founded in 1823. His visit was intended to highlight the participation of religious organizations in the vaccination effort.
Most states have either made vaccines available to all residents 16 and older or announced plans to do so by mid-April. The White House did not say how it intends to get the handful of remaining states to move up their timelines.
Officials announced at the end of March that nearly half of states were set to expand eligibility to all adults by April 15, and that 46 states and Washington, D.C., would do so by May 1. In the weeks since, the remaining four states — New York, Wyoming, South Carolina and Arkansas — have all opened vaccines to the general public.
Biden also announced that the U.S. administered 150 million doses in his first 75 days in office, a pace that puts the administration on track to surpassing his previously stated goal of reaching 200 million doses in his first 100 days.
The country is averaging 3.1 million shots per day over a seven-day period, White House officials said Monday, and reached a new milestone over the weekend with an unprecedented 4 million vaccinations recorded in one day. Nearly 1 in 4 adults are fully vaccinated, officials added.
According to NPR's vaccine tracker, 18.8% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, and 32.4% has had at least one dose. The states with the highest percentage of their populations vaccinated include New Mexico, South Dakota, Alaska, Rhode Island and Maine.