WASHINGTON - The United States passed a milestone Thursday in the Biden administration's effort to get Americans vaccinated against COVID-19: More than 200 million shots have been administered.
President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter, "Today, we officially reached our goal of 200 million shots in my first 100 days. Make no mistake: This is an American achievement. It’s a powerful demonstration of unity and resolve. And a reminder of what we can accomplish when we come together in pursuit of a common goal."
The figure represents roughly 215 million Americans who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This equates to 40.5% of the total population in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 87 million Americans are fully vaccinated in the country, and over half of the population (51.5%) 18 years of age or older are vaccinated.
Biden issued a statement Wednesday ahead of the approaching milestone.
"Back in December, I set a goal of administering 100 million shots — vaccine shots in my first 100 days in office. At the time, some told us that it couldn’t be done, it was awfully ambitious. But we did it in 58 days because of the incredible staff I have," Biden wrote in the press release. "And so I set a second goal to deliver 200 million shots in my first 100 days in office — a goal unmatched in the world or in prior mass vaccination efforts in American history."
"Two hundred million shots in 100 days — in under 100 days, actually. It’s an incredible achievement for the nation," Biden continued.
Biden’s 100th day in office is on April 30.
Biden recently announced a tax incentive for businesses to give employees paid leave to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Over the last week, the pace of inoculation in the U.S. has slowed slightly. That is partly a reflection of disruptions from the "pause" in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson shot for a safety review, but also of softening interest for vaccines in many places even as eligibility has been opened to all those older than 16.
In a White House speech on Wednesday, Biden acknowledged entering a "new phase" in the federal vaccination effort that relies on increased outreach to Americans to get their shots, both to protect them and their communities.
"Vaccines can save your own life, but they can also save your grandmother’s life, your co-worker’s life, the grocery store clerk or the delivery person helping you and your neighbors get through the crisis," Biden said. "That’s why you should get vaccinated.
Vaccinations began in December under former President Donald Trump, but got off to a slow start. When Biden took office in late January, he pledged to administer 100 million doses to Americans within his first 100 days in office — a figure that included people also receiving their second dose. That goal was hit in March, 58 days ahead of schedule.
Kelly Hayes contributed to this story.