Biden said his goal is for all Americans to be eligible for the vaccine by May 1, allowing for a return to social gatherings by July Fourth.
“If every willing person in America is vaccinated for #COVID19 by May, as POTUS has said, why put our lives on hold till July the 4th?” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wrote Friday on Twitter.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., echoed his statement.
“If you’re waiting for permission from the chief executive to celebrate Independence Day with your family, you clearly don’t grasp the concept of Independence,” Massie wrote on Twitter.
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro claimed Biden’s announcement wasn’t all it seemed.
“Once again, President Houseplant is running out in front of a moving parade and then claiming he is leading it. This was going to happen already,” Shapiro wrote Thursday on Twitter.
Biden said Thursday he is directing states, tribes and territories to ensure everyone is eligible for COVID vaccination by May 1.
The new directive comes as part of a broader strategy that included increasing the number of vaccine sites and active-duty troops supporting the vaccination campaign. The White House is also rolling out a new website and 1-800 number to assist with finding vaccines.
So far, states have limited eligibility of the vaccine, prioritizing high-risk individuals and front-line workers, although more states have recently expanded the field of who can obtain one.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday released highly anticipated guidance on practices considered safe for those who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, as it relates to gatherings, quarantine and testing.
The CDC said that those who are fully vaccinated can spend time with unvaccinated people indoors, with no mask, so long as those who are unvaccinated are at low-risk for severe COVID-19.
Shawn Brown, right, receives the second does of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from a volunteer worker at left, at a mass vaccination clinic at Seattle University, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Two weeks after their second dose, or the single-dose jab for those receiving a vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, fully vaccinated persons can safely gather inside with other fully vaccinated people without wearing face masks or physical distancing, the CDC said, calling these indoor gatherings “likely low risk.”
In opening his primetime remarks on Thursday, Biden took an apparent shot at the Trump administration.
“We were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked — denials for days, weeks, then months,” he said, echoing comments made during his campaign.
“That led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, and more loneliness,” he added.
Fox News’ Sam Dorman and Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.