Mar 18, 2021
Joe Biden Vaccination Updates Speech Transcript March 18
President Joe Biden gave a speech on the state of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout on March 18, 2021. Read the transcript of his speech remarks with vaccine updates here.
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President Biden: (00:00)
I announced in early December about a goal that I set of administering 100 million shots for the virus in the first 100 days of our office. 100 million shots in 100 days. It was considered a ambitious, some even suggested it was somewhat audacious. Experts said the plan was definitely aggressive and distribution would have to be seamless for us to be successful.
President Biden: (00:36)
One headline simply put it, “It won’t be easy.” Well, it wasn’t. When I took office, when we took office, there was a lot that had to be done. We needed more vaccines, more vaccinators, more places for people to get vaccinated, and we needed a whole of government approach. So I directed Jeff Zients the coordinator of our COVID-19 response, to put us on a war footing. And I meant that in a literal sense. To get us on track. To truly beat this virus.
President Biden: (01:13)
I’m proud to announce that tomorrow 58 days into our administration, we will have met my goal of administering 100 million shots to our fellow Americans. That’s weeks ahead of schedule. Even with the setbacks we faced during the winter storms. And there’s another big step, on the path to putting checks in pockets and shots in people’s arms. When we crossed the 50 million doses, just three weeks ago, I told you that every time we hit the 50 million mark, I’d update you on our progress. So here’s where we are today.
President Biden: (01:57)
Eight weeks ago, only 8% of seniors, those most vulnerable to COVID-19 had received a vaccination. Today, 65% of people aged 65 or older have received at least one shot, and 36% are fully vaccinated. That’s key. This is the population that represents 80% of the well over 500,000 COVID-19 deaths that have occurred in America. We have nearly double the amount of vaccine doses that we distribute to states, tribes and territories each week. We have gone from 1 million shots a day, that I promised in December, before we were even sworn in, to an average of two and one half million shots a day, outpacing the rest of the world significantly.
President Biden: (02:53)
Here’s how we accomplish this. Using the power given to a president under the Defense Production Act we expedited critical materials in vaccine production, such as equipment, machinery and supplies. We work with vaccine manufacturers to speed up the delivery of millions more doses, and brokered a historic manufacturing partnership between competing companies who put patriotism and public health first.
President Biden: (03:23)
These steps put us on track to have enough vaccine, enough vaccine supply, for every adult American by the end of May. Months earlier than anyone expected. We stood up or supplied more than 600 community vaccination sites that are administering hundreds of thousands of shots per day. We launched the Federal Pharmacy Program, which has allowed millions of Americans to get a shot at one of 14,000 local pharmacies in this country. The same way they get their flu shot. For folks who aren’t near a pharmacy, or mass vaccination center, we’ve supplied more than 500 mobile clinics, like pop-up sites or vans. Meeting people where they are, meeting people where they are. We deployed, nearly 6,000 federal personnel, including FEMA, active duty military and Department of Health and Human Services to support vaccinations and serve as vaccinators. Putting the needle in people’s arms.
President Biden: (04:39)
We’re also supplying vaccines to community health centers to reach those who have been the hardest hit. The hardest hit and suffered the most, especially black, Latino, Native American and rural communities. This is really important, because we believe that speed and efficiency must be matched with fairness and equity. Now when President Harris and I took a virtual tour of a vaccination center in Arizona, not long ago, one of the nurses on that tour injecting people, giving vaccinations, said that each shot was like administering a dose of hope. A dose of hope. That’s how she phrased it.
President Biden: (05:28)
Behind these 100 million shots are millions of lives changed when people receive that dose of hope. Grandparents can hug their grandchildren again. Frontline workers who can show up at their jobs without the same fear they used to have. Teachers with the confidence to head back into the classroom. These milestones are significant accomplishments, but we have much more to do. Much more to do. And the American Rescue Plan will help us do it. In addition to the cash payments it provides the you and your families, it also provides the funds to add vaccinators, to supply more community vaccination, support more community vaccination centers, and increase testing. It’ll help us accelerate nationwide efforts to reopen our schools safely. As I told the nation last week, I’ve directed all States, tribes and territories to make all adults eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1st. I’m glad to see that several states are already taking that step to make more and more Americans eligible. Even before May 1st.
President Biden: (06:48)
Tomorrow, we will hit 100 million doses. Our administration has administered, but I’ve always said, that’s just the floor. We will not stop until we beat this pandemic. Next week, I will announce our next goal to put shots in arms. This is a time for optimism, but it’s not a time for relaxation. I need all Americans. I need all of you to do your part. Wash your hands. Stay socially distanced. Keep masking up as recommended by the CDC. And get vaccinated when it’s your turn. Now’s not the time to let down our guard. In the last week we’ve seen increases in the number of cases in several states.
President Biden: (07:38)
Science has made clear that things may get worse as new variants of this virus spread. Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to fight back against these variants. While millions of people are vaccinated, we need millions more to be we vaccinated. And again, I need you to get vaccinated when it’s your turn, when you’re able to do that. I need your help. I need you to help, not just the country, but your family, your friends, your neighbors. Get them vaccinated as well.
President Biden: (08:15)
If we keep our guard up, stick together and stick with the science, we can look forward 4th of July that feels a bit more normal. With small groups able to gather for cookouts in backyards. And where we begin to declare our independence on Independence Day from the virus. Look, together we’re going to come through this stronger with renewed faith in each other and our government that fulfills its most important function, protecting the American people. Let me be clear again, wearing this mask in the meantime, making sure you wash your hands, making sure you socially distance and listen to the CDC. We’ve got to reach the point where we have herd immunity. Meaning where we have a vast majority of the American people have been vaccinated before we can stop wearing these.
President Biden: (09:14)
So please, please, don’t let what you see happening in Europe and you see on television. Keep the faith. Keep wearing the mask. Keep washing your hands. And keep socially distanced. We’re going to beat this. We’re way ahead of schedule, but we’ve got a long way to go.
President Biden: (09:36)
I just want to bring you up to date. I thank you very much. May God bless America. May God protect our troops. Thank you so much.
Speaker 2: (09:43)
Mr. President, Vladimir Putin wants open talks. Would you agree to that? Your reaction to the photo of children in the border detention centers, sir?