Joe Biden says the United States is “weeks ahead of schedule” and will be the first country in the world to 100 million vaccinations.
The president made his confident claim at a federal vaccination site in Texas shortly after experts had recommended Johnson & Johnson’s single shot vaccine for FDA authorisation.
Mr Biden told the crowd that the US was now on pace to reach his goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in the White House.
“The more people get vaccinated the faster we will beat this pandemic,” he said.
“America is going to be the first in the world to get that done, and I am proud say we are halfway there, 50 million shots.
“We are weeks ahead of schedule even with delays caused by the winter storm, we are heading in the right direction.”
And he. added: “In five weeks the United States has vaccinated more people than anyone else in the world, that is great progress.”
But he warned Americans to not become complacent and to keep socially distancing, washing their hands and wearing masks.
“It’s not a political statement. It’s a patriotic thing to do,” he said of mask wearing.
And he urged Americans to get vaccinated as he praised their safety.
“If there’s one message that needs to cut through all this, it’s that vaccines are safe,” he said.
“I promise you, they are safe and effective.”
Mr Biden said that he had spent the day with Republican politicians, whom he differed with on policy.
“But there are plenty of things we can work on together. And one of them is represented right here today, the effort to speed up vaccinations,” added Mr Biden.
“We’re not giving shots to Democrats or Republicans; I’ll say it again, we’re giving a shot to Americans.”
Mr Biden and first lady, Dr Jill Biden, spent the day in Texas to meet emergency workers and be briefed on the state’s recovery from the deadly winter storm that left millions without power, heat and water.
The president also visited and met with volunteers at the Houston Food Bank and the FEMA vaccine facility at the city’s NRG Stadium.
“Jill and I wanted to visit Texas today to let the people know that our prayers are with you in the aftermath of this winter storm, and secondly let you know that we will be true partners to help you recover and rebuild from these storms, this pandemic and the economic crisis. We are in this for the long haul,” said Mr Biden.
“We are not here as Democrats or Republicans, we are here today as Americans. We have a responsibility to all the people we serve.
“When a crisis hits our states, like in Texas, it is not a Republican or Democrat who is hurting, it is an American who is hurting.
“And it’s our job to help everyone in need, look out for one another, leave nobody behind.”