PORTAGE, Michigan On his first visit to Michigan since being elected president, Joe Biden visited Pfizer’s manufacturing site in Kalamazoo County on Friday, thanking all employees in his live remarks for their efforts to help to vaccinate Americans against the coronavirus.
Bidens’ praise comes as pharmaceutical company Pfizer launches its new Project Light Speed in a bid to produce and distribute COVID-19 vaccines faster and more efficiently in the United States, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, who delivered remarks to the nation ahead of Biden on Friday, highlighted the company’s production targets in the coming weeks.
According to Bourla, the company is working to reduce its vaccine production schedule by nearly 50%, reducing production time from 110 days to 60 days. The CEO said the company expects to more than double the number of vaccine doses shipped to the United States each week – which is currently five million doses per week – from the next few weeks.
Pfizer would also be on track to ship 200 million doses of the vaccine by the end of May this year, two months ahead of their original schedule, Bourla said. To help provide more flexibility to vaccination centers across the country, Bourla says Pfizer is also improving the longevity of stored vaccine doses with a new storage option.
After his tour of Pfizer’s largest manufacturing site, speaking to the nation, President Biden thanked Pfizer employees for their role in producing hundreds of millions of doses of the much-needed coronavirus vaccine. Biden said the advancement of COVID-19 vaccines was a miracle of science, especially after health experts initially thought it would take six to eight years to develop a vaccine.
After criticizing the lack of a national immunization strategy from previous administrations, Biden presented his administration’s initiative to speed up the production and distribution of coronavirus vaccines, which he called the most difficult operational challenge facing this country was confronted.
President Biden said the average daily number of people vaccinated in the United States nearly doubled from the week before he took office to an average of 1.7 million people receiving vaccines each day. With this new average, Biden says the nation is not only on track to surpass its commitment of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, but he expects to surpass that number. Critics have previously argued that 100 million doses was an inadequate target initially and hoped the pace of distribution would be increased when possible.
To speed up the distribution of the COVID vaccine and access to vaccine doses, Biden says his administration is:
Deploy more than 800 medical staff from federal programs to help physically administer vaccines to Americans, including Michigan,
Creation of new vaccination centers, including the establishment of mass vaccination sites in stadiums, arenas and community centers across the United States that will eventually be open and operating 24 hours a day,
Shipping coronavirus vaccines to local pharmacies across the United States, including Rite Aid and Meijer stores in Michigan,
Deploy mobile clinics to bring vaccines directly to people who do not live near pharmacies or centers administering vaccines,
Provision of vaccines to federal community health centers to help deliver vaccines to vulnerable, low-income and / or rural minority communities.
President says country is on track to have a vaccine supply for all Americans by the end of July 2021 – however, Biden says that doesn’t mean all Americans will have received their vaccines by July , just that enough doses will be available by that time.
The vaccines are safe, Biden said. Please, for yourself, for your family, for your community, for this country, take the vaccine when it’s your turn and available. This is how to beat this pandemic.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined President Biden for a tour of Pfizer’s facilities on Friday, her team announced hours after the event. Whitmer had not previously said whether she planned to meet Biden on her first official visit to Michigan as president.
In a statement, the governor praised Biden for his efforts to lead a national immunization strategy over the past month.
President Biden has worked diligently to support the Michigans Vaccination Operation since taking office four weeks ago, and today he delivered on his promise to visit our state and personally thank the Michiganders hard-working people who supply the vaccine to the country, Governor Whitmer. mentionned. The number of gun shots has increased dramatically since President Biden took office, and the President and I will not stop working until this pandemic is over once and for all. It is heartwarming to know that Michigan has such a powerful ally in the White House as we continue to fight this virus, distribute vaccines fairly, and work to get back to normal life.
Biden addressed Whitmer during his live nationwide remarks at the Pfizer facility, saying Whitmer had become his good and close friend and was doing an incredible job under very difficult circumstances. The public praise of the President of the Michigan Governor stands in stark contrast to former President Trump’s frequent criticism and insults against Whitmer.
The new president has prioritized the coronavirus response and vaccination plans for the United States since taking office, but also stresses the importance of a global vaccination strategy. Just this week, White House officials announced that Biden would unveil a $ 4 billion plan for an international effort to boost the procurement and distribution of coronavirus vaccines to poor countries at a Group meeting. of the Seven of World Leaders Friday.
The $ 4 billion US funding was approved by Congress in December and will be distributed until 2022.
Read more: Biden rolls out plan for $ 4 billion global immunization effort
In his closing remarks on Friday, Biden addressed his $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 bailout for the United States, which includes several benefits for struggling Americans and small businesses amid the pandemic. Biden says he’s open to hearing from lawmakers on ways to improve his plan and make it cheaper, but believes the spending is needed to help the country cope with the negative financial impact of pandemics.
According to Biden, one in five Americans is currently behind on their rent payments, and one in 10 Americans is behind on their mortgage payments. If the COVID-19 bailout is not passed, 40 million Americans would lose SNAP benefits, Biden said. While acknowledging the cost of the plan, the president essentially dared critics to tell him what aspects to cut, with billions allocated to schools, immunization efforts, unemployment costs and more as part of the plan.
It’s the United States of America, for god’s sake, Biden said on Friday. We invest in people in need.
As COVID deaths approach 500,000 in the United States – which would be nearly 70,000 more American deaths than those seen in World War II over a four-year period, Biden said – the president is asking Americans to continue to take measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including good hygiene and wearing a mask.
Biden previously signed an executive order requiring face masks to be worn on all federal government property and on all modes of transportation, including planes, subways and buses. He also called on local officials to institute their own mask warrants for their jurisdictions and praised Whitmer for doing so in Michigan.
I can’t give you a date when this crisis will end, but I can tell you that we are doing everything we can to make sure that day comes as soon as possible, Biden said.
We can do anything when we do it together, he concluded. It won’t be easy from now until the end, but I was going to beat that. Were going to beat that.
Bidens’ visit to Michigan was originally scheduled to take place on Thursday this week, but was postponed to Friday due to winter weather conditions affecting the region.
Several shipments of coronavirus vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna were also delayed to Michigan and other states this week due to extreme weather conditions.
Read: COVID vaccine shipments to Michigan delayed due to extreme weather
White House coronavirus response adviser Andy Slavitt said on Friday that the federal government, states and local vaccinators were going to have to redouble their efforts to catch up. The setback of sprawling winter storms comes just as the vaccination campaign appeared to be about to reach its pace. All overdue doses are expected to be delivered within the next few days, said Slavitt, still confident the pace of vaccinations will pick up.
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