With May 1 deadline looming, focus turns to ramping up vaccinators, vaccine sites

The federal government will focus on ramping up the number of vaccinators and the number of locations where vaccines are available after President Joe Biden’s announcement that all Americans will be eligible for a vaccine by May 1, White House officials said Friday.

The White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said Friday that the government over the coming weeks will increase the number of community health centers in the federal vaccine program to 950, double the number of pharmacies to 20,000 and double the number of federal mass vaccination sites, with a new site in Detroit at Ford Field available to administer 6,000 doses a day.

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, who is overseeing the equity of vaccine distribution for the White House, also said Friday that the pool of people available to administer vaccines will expand to include dentists, optometrists, paramedics, physician assistants and trained medical and health students.

The government will also launch a federal website to show where available vaccine is and deploy tech teams to support city- and state-run systems for making appointments, Zients said.

Biden’s May 1 deadline for eligibility “does not mean everyone will get a shot immediately,” Zients cautioned, but he said there will be enough supply by the end of May for every adult American.