(NEXSTAR) – The White House announced Monday that anyone 16 years and older can sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, meeting President Biden’s April 19 eligibility goal.
“More than half of all adults in America have now received at least one shot,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Monday’s briefing. “More than 32 percent of adults are fully vaccinated. Eighty-one percent of seniors have at least one, and just about two thirds are fully vaccinated.”
The announcement comes just a week after the Food and Drug Administration paused production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following reports of a rare blood clot condition.
When asked about the country’s reaction to the J&J news, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she hadn’t seen data suggesting that it was causing vaccine skepticism.
“But what we’ve seen as it relates to confidence or hesitancy is that, broadly speaking, it’s really an issue of access,” Psaki said. “And we’ve seen that as the case in many communities across the country. And our focus is on working to address that.”
As the vaccine supply continues to grow, the Biden administration hopes those barriers will start to fall.
“Things are about to get a whole lot easier,” said senior White House COVID response advisor Andy Slavitt, who is urging all eligible Americans to sign up. “Fifty percent of adults in the U.S. have had at least one shot, up from five percent. and we now have one thing on our mind – making sure that the other 50% know how easy it is to get a shot.”
He said 90 percent of Americans already live within 5 miles of a vaccination site.
Monday he announced the administration is investing another $150 million to make it even more convenient.
“We all want normalcy in America, the highway to that normalcy is vaccination.”
At the Monday briefing Dr. Anthony Fauci insisted that despite a recent pause on the J&J vaccine, each vaccine is safe and effective.
“There’s real data, not just opinion, but data to back each of that up,” Fauci said.
Despite the pause, the White House says the administration is still on target to meet its goal of 200 million shots in arms by the end of month.
“We can meet the demand by the end of may and enough supply to vaccinate ever adult American by the end of July.”
Psaki says she expects the FDA to issue an update on the status of the J&J vaccine by the end of the week.