President Joe Biden is expected to call for all American adults to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines by May 1.
Biden will be addressing the nation on Thursday evening for his first prime-time speech, and sources say that he will be focusing on vaccination eligibility. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post report that he will outline his plans for returning to a sense of normalcy in the United States following a year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the media reports, Biden will direct state leaders to allow all adults to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines by May 1. Currently, each state is permitted to outline their own vaccination schedule, although there is guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In effect, Biden is calling for states to drop their vaccination prioritization plans.
White House officials told reporters that Biden expects the United States to return to semi-normalcy by July 1, allowing for small celebrations. Despite this, COVID-19 precautions, including mask wearing and social distancing, are still expected to be emphasized.
The New York Times also reported that the Biden administration will launch new mass vaccination sites and partner with pharmacies to distribute vaccination shots.
Arkansas is currently in Phase 1B of its vaccination effort. Gov. Asa Hutchinson fully opened up Phase 1B for vaccination on March 8. During this phase, individuals aged 65 and up, individuals with intellectual or development disabilities, frontline workers, teachers and school staff, agricultural workers, firefighters and police not included in Phase 1A, food manufacturing industry, essential government workers, Department of Corrections employees, grocery store and meal delivery service employees and employees at houses of worship, as well as employees in the manufacturing industry, postal/package delivery services and public transportation are eligible for vaccination.
Hutchinson has projected the state to reach Phase 1C by the beginning of April.
Image courtesy of the White House via WikiMedia Commons