Rachel Dobkin, Staff Writer |
President Biden announced in a speech Thursday night that all states should make COVID-19 vaccines available to all adults by May 1, pushing optimism that “by July 4th there’s a good change you, your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day.”
Previously, on Tuesday, Mar. 2, President Biden had announced that the U.S will have enough COVID vaccines for every adult by the end of May, instead of a previous estimate of the end of July.
This does not mean that every adult will be vaccinated by this time, as it will take longer to distribute the doses, but this does speed up the timeline to becoming a fully vaccinated nation by two months.
Although many Americans are becoming eligible for vaccination, President Biden is directing states to prioritize teachers so students can get back into classrooms.
SUNY Oneonta Alumni, Kelly Fitzpatrick, is a part of President Biden’s target population. She is a teacher in a private pre-school where her students are not required to wear masks. Fitzpatrick was excited to get vaccinated because it meant she would be able to see her sister, who she has not seen in over a year because of underlying health concerns.
Fitzpatrick feels that “more people should get vaccinated to protect one another and to help the world return to normalcy. It’s one simple step to ensure the safety of our species.”
As of Monday, Mar. 1, eligibility has increased to include the food industry. SUNY Oneonta Student Association President, Gabrielle Cecere, is one of these workers. “I’m very excited and not nervous,” Cerece said. “I trust the science behind it and hope this leads to a more normal life soon.”
Cecere encourages others to get vaccinated as well. She said, “In my eyes, there’s no reason not to, since in the end, it’ll lead to everyone being safe and hopefully COVID-free.”
The new vaccine timeline was made possible with the agreement from Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, to help manufacture the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was granted emergency use by the Food and Drug Association (FDA) on Saturday, Feb. 27 and is the only vaccine that requires just one shot.
“We’ve developed an extensive partnership here in the United States and Europe and other places around the world and we’re very confident in our ability to deliver 20 million doses by the end of March and 100 million doses in the first half of the year en route to a billion doses by the end of this year,” Alex Gorsky, the CEO and chairman of Johnson & Johnson told CNN.
Although the U.S. is making strides towards a COVID-free world, President Biden urges Americans to not ease up on safety precautions: “There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now to ensure victory is inevitable; we can’t assume that. We must remain vigilant, act fast and aggressively and look out for one another. That’s how we’re going to get ahead of this virus, get our economy going again and get back to our loved ones. Though we celebrate the news of a third vaccine, I urge all Americans, please keep washing your hands. Stay socially distanced. Wear masks; keep wearing them. Get vaccinated when it’s your turn. Now is not the time to let up.”
New Yorkers can check their eligibility and make vaccination appointments by using New York’s “Am I Eligible” Tool or by calling 1-833-NYS-4-VAX.