The US has reached an important milestone of administering COVID-19 vaccines to a record 50 million people as part of its efforts to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic, with President Joe Biden asserting that the country is on its way to taking the figure to 100 million within the first 100 days of his administration.
"But this is not the time to relax," Biden told his countrymen from the White House as the US reached the important milestone.
"We must keep washing our hands, stay socially distanced, and for God's sake -- for God's sake, wear a mask. Some of our progress in this fight is because so many Americans are stepping up and doing those things. And the worst thing we could do now is let our guard down, he said on Thursday.
The more people get vaccinated, the faster we're going to beat this pandemic. That's why one of my first goals in office when just before I was sworn in, I indicated that my goal was to get 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in people's arms in my first 100 days as President, he said.
Biden said on Thursday the US reached the halfway mark of 50 million shots in just 37 days since he became President.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
That's weeks ahead of schedule, even with the setbacks we faced during the recent winter storms, which devastated millions of Midwestern cities, towns, and also the same in the South, he said.
At first, critics said that goal was too ambitious; no one could do that. And then they said it was too small. But the bottom line, though, is that America will be the first country -- perhaps the only one -- to get that done, he said.
Biden said nearly 50 per cent of Americans over the age of 65 and 75 per cent of long-term care recipients have received at least one dose.
We're moving in the right direction, though, despite the mess we inherited from the previous administration, which left us with no real plan to vaccinate all Americans," he said.
"Every time we administer another 50 million shots, I'm going to use that milestone to report to the American people on our vaccination program and on our overall fight against this pandemic. The good and the bad, I'll tell you; the success and the failures, he added.The US has the highest coronavirus case tally in the world at 28.4 million and the highest death toll at 508,114.