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President Biden after visiting the Pfizer vaccine plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., last week. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden is promising COVID-19 vaccines will be available to all Americans by the end of July — and a Quinnipiac poll finds three-quarters of Americans expect him to pull it off.  If he fails, the coronavirus could start to haunt the new president just like it did his predecessor.

Why it matters: Biden’s presidency is built on the notion of restoring competence — and confidence — in government. So, he'll need the huge infusion of cash from his virus relief bill — and heroics by drugmakers and distributors — to carry out mass vaccinations.

  • He'll need to hit or near this mark if America is truly going to return to normal for the fall school season. 
  • And he'll need to hit or near this mark to make good on his belief that life will return to "approaching normalcy" by Christmas.

Here's the big asterisk: Administration officials say the U.S. will have enough vaccine (600 million doses) to give everyone two shots by July 29. But they know not everyone will take it.

  • "[T]he reluctant and the hesitant will drag this out all fall," a top official tells me.
  • That's partly because of the historically rooted suspicion of vaccines among minorities, and many largely poor or isolated populations.

Here are things that could prevent Biden from hitting his goals:

  • Resistance from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • A violent new wave and strain of the virus. This could result from people getting sick of COVID isolation, and dropping their guard with the advent of warm weather.
  • An inability or reluctance of some states to find the right balance of COVID restrictions.
  • A foreign policy crisis that occupies Biden and his team.
  • Conservative media hammering his efforts on a nightly basis, adding to the vaccine reluctance and suspicion of Democratic plans.
  • The economy fails to grow, and the stock market stutters and slumps.
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Go deeper

Updated Feb 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump to speak at CPAC next week

Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Former President Trump will speak at next week's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference in Florida, his first public appearance since leaving office, a source with direct knowledge tells Axios.

What we're hearing: Trump plans to directly attack President Biden's new immigration plan and will talk about the future of the Republican Party, a source familiar with his speech said.

Feb 21, 2021 - World

America's vaccine rollout has been among the best in the world

Expand chart

America’s much-maligned vaccine rollout is actually going relatively well, at least compared to other wealthy countries.

The big picture: The U.S. has carried out more vaccinations than any country in the world, and given a first dose to a higher percentage of its population (12%) than all but five countries: Israel, the Seychelles, the UAE, the U.K. and Bahrain.

52 mins ago - World

WHO revises air quality guidelines to reduce deaths from pollution

Smoke from California wildfires over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in August 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Wednesday updated air quality guidelines it set roughly 15 years ago, saying that negative health effects from air pollutants can begin at lower levels than it previously thought.

Why it matters: The changes are meant to reduce deaths from pollutants that cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and prematurely kill an estimated 7 million people around the world annually, according to the WHO.