Biden Moves Up Vaccine Eligibility Deadline for All Adults to April 19

The president pushed up his target date by two weeks, matching the timetable already being put in place by many states.

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg

WASHINGTON — President Biden on Tuesday moved up by two weeks, to April 19, his deadline for states to make every American adult eligible for coronavirus vaccination, following the lead of states around the country that are already meeting that timetable.

Mr. Biden’s announcement came as Americans and their elected officials were grappling with competing and seemingly contradictory forces. The pace of vaccinations is accelerating, but worrisome new variants are spreading. The death rate is declining, but caseloads and hospitalizations are on the rise.

California officials announced on Tuesday that they plan to lift all coronavirus restrictions on June 15, provided there are enough Covid-19 vaccines available for anyone age 16 or older and hospitalizations remain low and stable. Other states are already lifting restrictions, but Mr. Biden, in remarks at the White House, warned against throwing off the guardrails too soon.

“The virus is spreading because we have too many people who, seeing the end in sight, think we’re at the finish line already,” the president said. “But let me be deadly earnest with you: We aren’t at the finish line. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re still in a life-and-death race against this virus.”

The president also reiterated and made explicit his pledge to give surplus vaccine to other countries, once he is certain there is enough for people in the United States.

Not quite a month ago, Mr. Biden set a deadline of May 1 for states to open up vaccination to all adults. A week after that, he said that by April 19, 90 percent of adults would be eligible for a shot and would be able to get one within five miles of their home.

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