At the start of his term, President Biden promised to get 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine out to the American people within his first 100 days. He not only kept that promise, but he did it “weeks ahead of schedule.” His administration is considering this a great success despite growing concerns over the side effects of the vaccine being reported from all over the globe.
In a short address to the nation on Thursday, the president not only discussed this feat but emphasized the need for everyone to get vaccinated. He has not released any statements specifically directed at side effects or vaccination worries.
When previously asked about making the shot mandatory for teachers, during a Wednesday press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stressed the need for teachers to comply, but did not address whether the Biden administration would require the controversial vaccine or not.
With many countries pausing their AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the United States has continued to distribute it alongside the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Instead of answering questions about the people’s concerns, President Biden has focused on distributing “enough vaccinate supply for every adult American by the end of May.”
Vaccinating 100 million people within 58 days is, in his words, “Another big step to putting checks in people’s pockets and shots in people’s arms,” and he celebrated the fact that each day two-and-a-half million Americans are receiving the vaccine.
He urged everyone to continue following the CDC guidelines despite a lack of evidence that some of the more controversial requirements have been effective, as states that have not instituted mandatory mask mandates or lockdowns have not seen higher death rates than those that have.
When mentioning “herd immunity,” Biden utilized the updated definition which was recently changed to “the protection given to a community against an epidemic of a contagious disease when a sufficient number of the population are immunized or otherwise develop immunity to it,” as opposed to the traditional definition, which did not address immunizations.
According to the president, 65 percent of seniors have received at least one dose of the shot, while 36 percent are fully vaccinated. Throughout the course of the pandemic, senior citizens aged 65 or older have represented 80 percent of COVID deaths. Those most vulnerable have been treated first. The vaccination rollout has begun a global debate on implementing vaccine passports for travel and other social interactions. This raises the questions: Can public-safety concerns nullify constitutional civil liberties? And if they do, what would the future of science and medicine look like?