President Joe Biden just announced that he will direct states to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations by May 1st. He also said that the federal government will launch a website on May 1st that will let people check where they can get a vaccine near them. He made both announcements during his first prime-time televised address as President on Thursday evening.
“All American adults will be eligible to get a vaccine no later than May 1st,” says Biden. “That doesn’t mean everyone’s going to have that shot immediately. But it means you’ll be able to get in line beginning on May 1.”
The administration also plans to increase the number of places administering vaccinations and expand the group of medical professionals who can give the shots. All these steps should help states get shots in arms, increasing the likelihood that the country will hit its vaccination targets, and return to something resembling normalcy. The US will have enough doses available to vaccinate every adult in the country by the end of May.
Biden says the goal is for families to be able to celebrate together again by the Fourth of July, but made no promises.
This isn’t the first time a US president has promised a large-scale website as part of its efforts to fight COVID-19. In March 2020, as the nation was coming to terms with the fast-spreading virus, former president Donald Trump announced that Google had 1,700 engineers working on a nationwide website that people could use to determine if they should get tested and where they could do so.
This wasn’t true, however — Verily, another company owned by Google parent Alphabet, was in the early stages on a testing website that was intended to serve parts of California. And that 1,700 number reportedly came from a list of Google employees who said they would volunteer for the project. Trump’s promised website never launched.
Biden also said that his administration will deploy teams to help states in need of support for their own vaccine-scheduling websites. The government will also establish a call center to help people without internet access make a vaccine appointment. The announcements follow Biden’s signing of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan earlier on Thursday, which includes $1,400 stimulus checks for many Americans.
Vaccines are slowly becoming more available in the US, but it is still a challenge for many to get them or even book an appointment. That has led to the homegrown development of services like Dr. B, which notifies people about thawed vaccines that would otherwise go to waste, and NYC Vaccine List, which can help people book vaccine appointments in the NYC area. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers a vaccine finder website.
If you’re looking to score a vaccine appointment ahead of May 1st, check out our guide.