Joe Biden Increases COVID Vaccine Goal for First 100 Days After GOP Criticism

President Joe Biden has upped his goal for COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States—from 100 million in his first 100 days in office to about 150 million, and he said he's optimistic about the country returning to some normalcy in the coming months.

"I feel good about where we're going," Biden told reporters Monday. "I think we can get it done."

Biden had set his goal of 100 million shots in 100 days in late 2020, as vaccinations had not yet ramped up. But during the final days of the Trump administration, the country was already administering nearly 1 million a day. More than 18.5 million people have received at least one of the required two doses of vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The United States has issued guidelines prioritizing vaccines for older people, people with compromised immune systems and front-line workers. Biden, who has pressed on vaccine makers and vowed to eliminate red tape that has stifled vaccine distribution, said he thinks that by the spring, anyone who wants a vaccine should be able to get one.

"It's going to be a logistical challenge and exceed anything we've ever tried," he said. "I feel confident that by summer we're going to be well on our way to heading toward herd immunity and increasing access for people who aren't on the first on the list."

Biden has faced some backlash in recent days from critics who have argued that his 100 million-doses goal was already on track to be met by the Trump administration.

"Thanks to [Operation Warp Speed] Pres. Biden inherited a program that was ALREADY meeting the goal of 100 million doses in 100 days," the national Republican Party tweeted Monday, shortly before Biden revealed his revised target.

More than 420,000 people in the United States have died from complications of COVID-19. In his final year in office, President Donald Trump faced sharp backlash for his handling of the coronavirus.

Biden ran primarily on his goal of tackling COVID-19 and since taking office last week, he's repeatedly stressed that it's his top priority.

"We're in this for a while," Biden said Monday. "There's going to be more [deaths]—the prediction is that we're going to see somewhere between a total of 600,000 to 660,000 deaths before we began to turn the corner in a major way."

"We will beat this but we're still going to be talking about this in the summer, we're still going to be dealing with this issue in the early fall," he added.

Joe biden
President Joe Biden leaves Holy Trinity Catholic Church in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. on January 24. Joe Biden has begun his presidency with sharp breaks from Donald Trump in both substance and tone, from climate change to immigration to a general openness to working with the rest of the world. Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty