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Biden makes direct appeal to seniors: "Get vaccinated now"
President Biden made a direct appeal to senior citizens across the country, urging them to get vaccinated now before eligibility expands to all adults on April 19.
“My message today is a simple one. Many states have already opened up to all adults, but beginning April 19th, every adult in every state, every adult in this country, is eligible to get in line to get a Covid vaccination. And today, in advance of that new national full eligibility date, I want to make a direct appeal to our seniors and everyone who cares about them,” Biden said during remarks at the White House on Tuesday.
“It's simple, seniors, it's time for you to get vaccinated now. Get vaccinated now,” he said.
The President urged those younger than 65 to help seniors schedule and get their vaccines as soon as possible.
“If you know someone over 65 who has not gotten this life-saving vaccine, call them now. Work with them to get their shots this week or next. Pick them up, drive them. It can be your parents, your grandparents, your aunt, uncle, your neighbors,” he said.
Biden added that his administration will send aid to community groups to help drive seniors to vaccination sites.
“We know that there are number of seniors and people with disabilities and people in many communities of color who may be isolated and lack access to transportation. That's why we're ramping up transportation to vaccination centers and deploying more mobile units and pop-up clinics in the places close to where people live,” Biden said.
Dominican Republic receives first batch of COVAX vaccines
From CNN’s Tatiana Arias and Jessica Hasbun
The Dominican Republic received its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from the international vaccine-sharing initiative COVAX early Tuesday, a statement from the country’s health ministry said.
The vaccines “will be used to complete the immunization cycle of health workers already vaccinated with a first dose of AstraZeneca,” the statement said.
On Tuesday, the island received 91,200 out of the 2,169,600 AstraZeneca Covid-19 doses purchased through the COVAX program and manufactured by SK Bioscience of South Korea, the ministry said.
AstraZeneca vaccines acquired via COVAX costed the Dominican Republic $4.27 each, for total of $390,000, according to the island’s health minister Daniel Rivera.
As of Tuesday, at least 1,187,599 people have received a Covid-19 vaccine shot in the country, including 320,893 people being fully vaccinated after receiving their second dose.
Read more about the COVAX initiative here.
Biden hopes to share excess Covid-19 vaccine doses with other countries before "summer is over"
From CNN's Kevin Lipak
President Biden offered the first rough administration timeline for sharing excess vaccine doses with countries who have been clamoring for shots, saying Tuesday he is eyeing the end of summer as a time when the US can begin shipping some of its surplus.
"My hope is before the summer is over, I'm talking to you all about how we have even access to more vaccines than we need to take care of every American, and we're helping other poor countries, countries around the world that don't have the money, the time, the expertise," Biden said at the White House.
"Until this vaccine is available to the world and we're beating back the virus in other countries we're not really completely safe," he said.
Until now, it has been unclear when Biden might agree to release some of the extra doses the US has purchased to countries who have been pleading with him to ship them.
The White House has been wary of the political fallout that might come along with shipping doses abroad before all Americans can easily get shots. Public polling has shown wide majorities of Americans say the US should provide shots to all Americans, even if developing nations must wait.
Administration health experts have also warned that keeping a stockpile might be necessary in case boosters are needed and as it remains to be seen which vaccine works best in children.
At the same time, however, allies have been pressuring the Biden administration for access to US-purchased vaccines as availability dwindles on the global market.
Biden himself has been confronted in telephone calls and virtual meetings by his foreign counterparts who have pressed him on why the US is purchasing so much more vaccine than it would appear to need, according to people familiar with the conversations.
State Department officials have also been fielding near-daily requests from other countries for vaccines, according to diplomats, whose answer has largely been the same: no shipments until the US is taken care of.