What to Know About COVID Vaccine Eligibility Expanding, Signing Up for Shot

President Joe Biden on Tuesday will announce the expansion of vaccine eligibility to all U.S. adults by April 19, shaving roughly two weeks off of his initial goal to grant access to the full population by May 1.

As a growing number of states move to open eligibility beyond priority groups such as the elderly or frontline workers, Biden is set to to announce that any adult American can be inoculated starting in two weeks, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

"The president will announce officially later this afternoon that we've reached 150 million shots in arms since entering government and that by April 19 all adult Americans will be eligible to get the vaccine," Psaki said at a White House briefing Tuesday, CNN reported.

"That doesn't mean they will get it that day. It means they can join the line that day if they have not already done that beforehand," she added. "It means that everybody will be eligible to go to their local pharmacy, go to their community health center, mobile vaccination site mass vaccination site on the date and moving forward."

Biden initially said last month that he hoped to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1. Following that announcement, more than 40 states worked to move up access to allow adults to be inoculated before that deadline, the New York Times reported.

At least a dozen states opened eligibility to anyone over age 16 on Monday alone. Prior to Tuesday, only a handful of states—including Hawaii and Oregon, according to the Associated Press—still had May 1 as the deadline for vaccine access for all adults.

"I need you to get vaccinated when it's your turn," Biden said last month. "And when you can find an opportunity, help your family, your friends, your neighbors get vaccinated, as well."

Though Biden is expected to announce that all adults can now receive the vaccine earlier, people will still need to make appointments in their state to actually receive the shot.

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden will expand vaccine eligibility to all U.S. adults on April 19. In the photo, Biden responds to a question after delivering remarks on the COVID-19 response and the state of vaccinations in the South Court Auditorium at the White House complex on March 29, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

How to set up a vaccine appointment

To make an appointment online, Americans can use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s VaccineFinder. The website will help people find information on COVID-19 vaccine availability and eligibility requirements at nearby locations.

User's simply type in their zip code and can specify which of the three vaccinations (or all) that they would prefer, and the website will determine pharmacy locations and providers near them.

However, some states might not have the most up-to-date data on VaccineFinder. Alternatively, people can book vaccine appointments and receive information through their state's health department website, according to the CDC.

People can also book vaccine appointments through specific pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid, through their websites or by calling a local number.

Biden's Tuesday announcement comes as over 40 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the CDC. So far, nearly one in four Americans has been fully vaccinated, while more than half of older people are fully inoculated, and 75 percent have received at least one dose.

As part of his vaccine rollout, Biden announced last week, according to CNN, that 90 percent of adults will have a vaccinated site within five miles of where they live by April 19.

The president added that the number of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy vaccination program was increasing from 17,000 locations to 40,000, CNN reported.

Biden is scheduled to give updated remarks at the White House on Tuesday, after visiting a COVID-19 vaccination site in Virginia.

Newsweek contacted the White House for an additional comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

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