Biden to announce April 19 deadline for making all adults eligible for Covid vaccine

WASHINGTON — All adults in the U.S. should be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine by April 19, the White House said President Joe Biden will announce in a speech Tuesday.

The new deadline for states — which is two weeks earlier than Biden had previously targeted — should not be difficult to meet since several states have already begun administering the vaccine to anyone over 16 who wants it.

“The president will announce officially later this afternoon that we reached 150 million shots in arms since entering government,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at the daily briefing. ” By April 19, all adult Americans will be eligible to get the vaccine. That doesn’t mean they will get it that day; it means they can join the line that day, if they have not already done that beforehand.”

CNN first reported Biden’s planned announcement on eligibility. Most states have already announced they would be opening eligibility to all adults by April 19, with only Hawaii remaining to do so, according to NBC News’s count. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown tweeted after Biden’s planned announcement was reported that her state would also make residents over the age of 16 eligible for vaccinations starting on that date.

Biden had announced in his first primetime address as president last month that he was directing states to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccinations no later than May 1.

The president’s announcement Tuesday comes as officials have expressed concern about another surge in Covid-19 cases, with the incidence rate rising in young adults. New Covid-19 cases over the past week are up 7 percent over the prior period, hospital admissions are up 3 percent and deaths are down slightly to around 800 a day, officials said at a White House coronavirus briefing Monday.

Among those 65 and older, 55 percent of whom are fully vaccinated, there has been a decrease in emergency room visits and hospitalizations, officials said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly a quarter of adults in the U.S. are fully vaccinated and about 40 percent have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Shannon Pettypiece contributed.