President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he is shaving about two weeks off his May 1 deadline for states to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines.

What You Need To Know

  • President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he is moving up the deadline for states to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines

  • The new deadline of April 19 is about two weeks earlier than Biden's original May 1 deadline

  • Biden made the announcement at the White House Tuesday after a visit to a vaccination site in Virginia
  • The president also encouraged seniors to get their shot if they haven't yet, and he urged Americans to remain careful while the vaccination campaign continues

As states have gradually expanded eligibility beyond priority groups like older people and essential workers, the president announced that all Americans 16 and older should at least have access to the shot by April 19, acknowledging that vaccinations will continue into the summer. He had previously announced that 90% of adults would be eligible by that date.

The new deadline pushes forward the president's goal of getting the country "closer to normal" by July 4.

"We've made great progress," the president said in remarks from the White House. "If we keep the pace we're on and we listen to one another [and] take the cautions I talked about, you'll be able to have a Fourth of July." 

President Biden also marked the 150 millionth shot given, which happened on Monday. The U.S. is now giving about 3 million doses each day, on average, and the federal government plans to ship out 28 million vaccine doses this week alone. More than 63 million people have been fully vaccinated.

The president also noted a new milestone: Nearly 80% of teachers, school staff, and childcare workers had gotten at least one shot by the end of March, according to CDC data. Biden previously called on all states to open the vaccine to those who work with children by the end of last month.

“Our push to ensure that teachers, school staff, and childcare workers were vaccinated during March has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement later Tuesday.

Still, Biden warned Americans that the progress the country has made on vaccinations can "be reversed" if people continue to relax restrictions and let virus variants spread even further.

"Let me be deadly earnest with you. We still have a lot of work to do. We're still in a life-and-death race against this virus," the president said. "We need everyone to wash their hands, socially distance and mask up."

More than 554,000 Americans have died from the virus, a number that President Biden read out loud from a note card he keeps in his pocket that has the latest toll. 

On Tuesday, the president also spoke directly to seniors, one of the groups most vulnerable to severe COVID-19 and death. He encouraged them to get the vaccine as soon as possible, before eligibility opens and clinics are flooded with appointment requests. 

"It's time for you to get vaccinated now. Get vaccinated now," Biden said. "This is America. We take care of one another. We have to keep it up."

The president had announced last week that 90% of adults would be eligible for one of three approved vaccines by April 19, plus most would have a vaccination site within 5 miles of their home by the same date.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.