Washington, Feb 25 (efe-epa).- President Joe Biden on Thursday hailed the fact that the US has now administered 50 million doses of the vaccines against Covid-19, an achievement he said was an enormous milestone in defeating the virus.
“In five weeks, America’s administered the most shots of any country in the world, with among the highest percentage fully vaccinated,” Biden said at an event at which several citizens were inoculated and at which he was accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris.
“It’s also true that while COVID-19 vaccinations are up, COVID cases and hospitalizations are coming down. But I need to be honest with you: cases and hospitalizations are going up as new variants emerge,” the president said.
Biden, who came into office on Jan. 20, had promised that 100 million doses of vaccine would be administered within his first 100 days in the White House.
The president said that the country is halfway to his established goal, but he warned that “this is not a time to relax.”
“While COVID-19 vaccinations are up, COVID cases and hospitalizations are coming down,” Biden said. “But I need to be honest with you: cases and hospitalizations could go back up with new variants as they emerge. So I want to make something really very clear: this is not a time to relax.”
He urged Americans to keep practicing social distancing, washing their hands and said “for God’s sake, wear a mask,” declaring that “the worst thing we could do now is let our guard down.”
“This is not a victory lap,” Biden said. “Everything is not fixed. We have a long way to go.”
The first person in the US was inoculated on Dec. 14.
Although the number of infections and deaths from the coronavirus is on the decline, the US is still the hardest-hit country in the world by the pandemic with more than 28 million confirmed cases and more than 500,000 deaths, according to the independent tally being kept by The Johns Hopkins University.
Experts think that the downward trend in the morbidity and death figures is linked – above all – to the vaccination program, and last week a third vaccine, the one-dose Johnson & Johnson drug, was added to the ones already available from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, both of which require two doses to become fully effective within the human body.
Biden said that he hopes that the US will have enough doses to vaccinate almost its entire population against Covid, more than 300 million people, by the end of July after coming to new agreements with Pfizer and Moderna and the anticipated approval of Johnson & Johnson’s med.