President Joe Biden has said that he believes the US will be approaching normalcy by the end of this year as the country races to deliver coronavirus vaccines to millions of Americans.
Biden on Friday toured a manufacturing facility of Pfizer in Kalamazoo, Michigan, seeking to highlight efforts to mass produce a coronavirus vaccine as his administration looks for ways to increase supply and streamline distribution.
"I believe we'll be approaching normalcy by the end of this year. And God willing, this Christmas will be different than the last," Biden said responding to a question at the site in Michigan.
At the same time, he refused to make any commitment.
"I can't make that commitment to you. There are other strains of the virus. We don't know what could happen in terms of production rates. Things can change. But we're doing everything the science has indicated we should do, and people are stepping up to get everything done that has to be done," he said.
Biden said that getting the vaccine and having it available is not the same as putting it in someone's arms. This is going to be a continuous rolling effort.
"We will have ordered, much of which will have been distributed, over 600 million doses by the end of July. July 29th is the expected date. That could change. Look at what's happening with the weather now, for example: It's slowing up the distribution right now," he said.
Severe winter weather has gripped much of the US this week and delayed the distribution of 6 million vaccine doses, the White House said on Friday.
"I can't give you a date when this crisis will end, but I can tell you we're doing everything possible to have that day come sooner rather than later," he said. "This administration is going to be guided by science to save lives and to make lives better," he said.
Biden said parenthetically it's not enough that we find cures for Americans. There needs to be a cure that the world is able to take part of, because you can't build a wall or a fence high enough to keep a pandemic out.
"Just over four weeks ago, America had no real plan to vaccinate most of the country. My predecessor — as my mother would say, "God love him" — failed to order enough vaccines, failed to mobilise the effort to administer the shots, failed to set up vaccine centers. That changed the moment we took office," he said.
Biden touted that the country's vaccination rate has increased to about 1.7 million shots a day, well above the pace for the president's goal of 100 million shots in 100 days.
Biden had said that in "the first 100 days, before I was inaugurated, "that we'd administer 100 million shots in my first 100 days.
At the Pfizer factory in Michigan, where he met with lab workers and learned about the process behind creating one of the two COVID-19 vaccines that is being widely used across the country to inoculate Americans, the Hill reported.
The US, which is the worst affected country from the pandemic, has reported 28,004,311 cases and over 495,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins tracker.