Joe Biden laid out his plans for fighting the next stage of the coronavirus pandemic in a primetime town hall on Tuesday, pledging to make 600m doses of the Covid-19 vaccine available by the end of July, saying teachers should be moved “up the hierarchy” of the vaccine queue, and predicting most elementary schools would reopen by the end of his first 100 days in office.
Seeking to move beyond his predecessor’s impeachment trial and reassure the American people that more aid was on the way, Biden addressed a small crowd in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After landing on a slick, snow-covered tarmac in below-freezing weather, he took questions from a small audience of Democrats, Republicans and independents invited for a small, socially distant gathering at the historic Pabst Theater.
The event began with the CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who hosted the event, asking when ordinary Americans could expect to receive the vaccine, to which Biden replied: “By the end of July we will have 600m doses, enough to vaccinate every single American.”
“Do you mean they will be available, or that people will have been able to actually get them?” Cooper asked, briefly referencing Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, who had said earlier in the day that it may “take until June, July and August to finally get everyone vaccinated”.
Biden said he meant they would “be available” by the end of July.
Asked later by Cooper when life would “get back to normal”, Biden offered a tentative but hopeful assessment. “By next Christmas, we’ll be in a very different circumstance, God willing, than we are today.”