President Biden announced on Tuesday the U.S. is on track to provide vaccination for all adults in the country by the end of May. This announcement was a consequence of the newly Food and Drug Administration approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which only requires one shot, rather than two, as well as a manufacturing deal with the drugmaker Merck.
Through use of the Defense Production Act, two Merck facilities are being outfitted to produce the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in greater supply.
President Biden also announced his administration’s plan to get at least one shot into the arms of educators by the end of March. This was part of a broader plan to reopen the nation’s schools.
Amid the vaccine news, Texas governor Greg Abbott announced his state would rescind all COVID-19 restrictions beginning Mar. 10, meaning the state will no longer have a mask mandate and business will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity. The governor announced his decision via executive order live as well as on Twitter.
“I just announced Texas is OPEN 100%. EVERYTHING. I also ended the statewide mask mandate,” Abbott said via Twitter.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Gov. Abbott cited growing vaccination rates and falling hospitalization rates as reasoning for lifting Texas restrictions
Pandemic experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and public health adviser to the President, have criticized the decision as “ill-advised” and “inexplicable” per an interview conducted by CNN.
President Biden also added that he thought the actions taken by the Governors of Texas and Mississippi were disappointing and concerning as the U.S. fights to beat the pandemic.
“The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask and forget it, it still matters” President Biden said, adding, “it’s critical you follow the science.”