President Biden pledged Monday evening that any American who wants a coronavirus vaccine will have access to one by mid-summer.
“By the end of July, we'll have over 600 million doses, enough to vaccinate every single American," Biden said Tuesday.
Biden made the remarks during a televised town hall with CNN, going on to predict that the country would be closer to normalcy "by next Christmas." Host Anderson Cooper, though, pressed the president on whether he was referring to the number of shots that would be available or the number of people who would have already received their jabs by then.
"Available," Biden replied.
The White House has been reluctant to outline a timeline for herd immunity, or when 75% of the public will be inoculated against COVID-19. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert and Biden's chief medical adviser, had projected "open season" for vaccines by April, but in an interview earlier Tuesday, he revised that time frame to "mid-to-late May and early June.”
As part of his plan for his first 100 days in office, Biden vowed to vaccinate 100 million people. He also promised to make reopening K-12 schools a priority.
The Biden administration has been criticized, however, after White House press secretary Jen Psaki last week defined the school opening goal as having more than 50% of K-8 facilities offering in-person instruction once a week by April 30. Biden on Tuesday said that was incorrect.
"No, that's not true. That's what was reported. That's not true. That was a mistake in the communication," Biden said a week after Psaki's comments from the briefing room.
The issue of whether teachers should be inoculated has been central to negotiations with teachers and their unions over when they return to their classrooms.
“I think that we should be vaccinating teachers. We should move them up in the hierarchy," he said.
The town hall was broadcast from Milwaukee. Biden's trip to Wisconsin marks his first official presidential travel of his term. The 2020 Democratic convention was supposed to be hosted in the city last summer but was canceled because of the pandemic.