During a regularly-scheduled briefing by the White House COVID-19 response team Friday, team cooridnator Jeff Zients confirmed that the U.S. is now distributing an average of 3 million doses of vaccine each day.
The U.S. has reached the milestone less than two weeks before the Biden administration opens vaccine eligibility to all adults in the U.S. on April 19. Most states have already taken that action themselves.
The briefing came a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly a quarter of all U.S. adults have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 40% of all adults have received at least one dose.
Zients also confirmed Friday that both Pfizer and Moderna are both on track to meet commitments to deliver 200 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccines by the end of May. He also said that HHS is monitoring a plant in Mayland that was the site of a mix-up that contaminated thousands of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and hopes to get that plant back online soon.
Both Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top expert on infectious diseases, and Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, spoke during Friday's briefing in the hopes of combating vaccine hesitancy.
Fauci walked reporters through the development of the mRNA technology that is currently being employed in the COVID-19 vaccines.
"This is did not have in 11 months," Fauci said, noting that work had been underway for "decades out of the spotlight."
Murthy said that polling has shown that vaccine hesitancy has fallen in recent months, but added that those who are still hesitant are looking to friends and family members for advice on vaccines. He urged all Americans to get vaccinated "as soon as you can" and encourage "people you care about" to get vaccinated as well.
However, the sprint to vaccinate more people comes as a variant strain of the virus that is more contagious has become dominant in the U.S. On Wednesday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the B-117 variant of COVID-19 — a strain first detected in the U.K. late last year — is now “the most common lineage circulating in the United States."
For months, White House officials have urged Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible to limit the impact of variant strains.
Fauci has said that viruses cannot mutate into more serious strains if they cannot spread — meaning the U.S. must reach a state of “herd immunity” to thwart additional and potentially more dangerous mutant strains.