One year to the day after “everything stopped,” Joe Biden, in his first primetime address as president, outlined his vision for getting every adult in the United States vaccinated by summer and putting an end to a pandemic that has cost more than half a million American lives.
At no point during his 24-minute speech did Biden mention former President Trump by name, but he did allude to the “denial for days, weeks, then months that led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, and more loneliness.” He primarily focused on his own achievements, saying his administration was on track to hit his goal of 100 million shots given on his 60th day in office, rather than his 100th, as originally promised. All American adults will be eligible for a vaccine by May 1, he said, and backyard barbecues could resume on the Fourth of July.
“After this long, hard year, it will make this Independence Day something truly special, where we not only mark our independence as a nation, but we begin to mark our independence from this virus,” he said.
Biden outlined the government’s plan to speed up vaccinations, likening it to a wartime mobilization: deploying active duty service members, FEMA, and retired doctors and nurses to administer shots; making it possible to get vaccinated at one of 10,000 pharmacies across the country; setting up 600 federally supported vaccination centers; expanding at-home testing; and creating pop-up clinics that would allow people to get their shots without leaving their cars.
He issued a plea for all Americans to do their part, get vaccinated, and continue playing by the rules so that emerging, more contagious variants don’t overwhelm the country in the coming months. And, hours after signing into law a bill that passed with zero Republican support, he concluded with a call for unity. “My fervent prayer for our country,” he said, “is that after all we have been through, we come together as one people, one nation, one America.”
Watch the full speech below: