Updated Mar 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden: States must designate all adults eligible for vaccine by May

President Biden directed states and tribal governments to designate all adult Americans eligible for a vaccine no later than May 1 during his primetime address on the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's part of the Biden administration's "wartime effort" to get the nation "closer to normal" by July 4.

Context: Biden said in early March that the U.S. would have enough vaccine doses for 300 million Americans by the end of May, roughly two months sooner than his previously promised timeline by the end of July.

What they're saying: "A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked," Biden said. "Denials for days, weeks, then months, that led to more deaths, more infections, more stress and more loneliness."

  • "A year filled with the loss of life, and the loss of living for all of us. But in the loss we saw how much there was to gain in appreciation, respect and gratitude, finding light in the darkness is a very American thing to do."
  • "In fact, it may be the most American thing we do."

Of note: Biden's address Thursday also comes one year after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic.

Biden said 527,726 Americans have died from the coronavirus as of Thursday night.

  • "That's more deaths than in world War I, World War II, the Vietnam war and 9/11 combined," the president added.

The big picture: Biden also announced that the federal government will launch a website before May 1 to make it easier for people to find vaccination sites and schedule appointments.

  • Biden said his administration will release new guidance on what people can and cannot do once fully vaccinated and that his Department of Education will focus on opening the majority of elementary and middle schools across the U.S.

Go deeper: Biden signs $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill

Go deeper