On May 1, all US adults will be eligible for a vaccine against coronavirus. The US President shared the news in his first primetime address since taking office in January. Mr Biden said the vaccine boost would help Americans celebrate “independence from this virus”. The US has suffered the worst from the pandemic, with 29,925,902 cases and 543,721 deaths from the virus.
Marking the anniversary of the US’s first shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Biden spoke from the White House about the country’s progress in fighting the virus.
After announcing everyone over 18-years-old will be eligible for a vaccine on May 1, he urged everyone “to get vaccinated when it’s your turn and when you can find an opportunity”.
Suggesting a return to normality, he said: “If we do all this, if we do our part, if we do this together, by July the 4th, there’s a good chance that you, your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighbourhood and have a cookout and a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day (…)
“After this long, hard year, that will make this Independence Day something truly special, where we not only mark our independence as a nation, but we began to mark our independence from this virus.”
It follows the US President signing the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, into law the same day.
The bill includes $1,400 stimulus payments, an extension of jobless benefits, and a child tax credit that is expected to lift millions out of poverty.
He said: “This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country.”
Mr Biden’s ARPA is believed to be the second most expensive in US history behind last March’s initial coronavirus response package known as the CARES Act, which was worth roughly $2.2 trillion.
ARPA is also more than twice as expensive as the stimulus package passed by Barack Obama’s administration in 2009, as the economy recovered from the Great Recession and housing and financial crises.
It passed through both chambers of Congress without a single Republican supporter, succeeding due to the Democrat’s slim majorities.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a floor speech on Wednesday shortly before the House vote: “How do you say no to lifting 50 percent of impoverished children in America out of poverty?”
She added later: “It’s probably the most consequential legislation most of us will ever, any of us will ever vote for in the Congress.”
The US has suffered the worst from the pandemic, with 29,925,902 cases and 543,721 deaths from the virus, according to Worldometers as of writing.
But the US has vaccinated the most people worldwide, with one in 10 Americans being fully vaccinated.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on its website that at least 33.9 million Americans are protected with either a one-dose or two-dose vaccine.