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President Joe Biden offered Americans across the country a glimmer of hope on Thursday night with a mandate for states to make COVID-19 vaccines available to everyone 18 and over by May 1, but experts say it’s far more likely lots of people are about to find their hopes dashed.
In California, state health officials are still tinkering with the list of medical conditions that people under 65 should have in order to qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine. In Florida, newly opened federal vaccination sites in minority neighborhoods are not boosting the state’s abysmal vaccination rate for Black and Hispanic residents. In Texas, the state saw it’s weekly vaccination distribution drop by more than 200,000. And in Washington, D.C., where Biden delivered his first presidential address from the White House, a pre-registration site for residents omitted one category of essential workers who are currently eligible to get shots.
From the East Coast to the West Coast, these are just some of the logistical nightmares that suggest the president’s mandate could fall way short of his expectations, according to infectious disease experts. It will be near impossible without the significant ramp up in the national vaccine supply that Biden has promised will materialize in the coming weeks.