The Biden administration, which had set a goal of 100 million shots in President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office, hit another milestone Friday. The U.S. became the first nation to vaccinate 100 million people.
However, cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, remain on the rise in some regions of the United States.
"I plead with you, don't give back the progress we've all fought so hard to achieve," Biden said Friday. "We need every American to buckle down and keep their guard up in this homestretch."
Earlier this week, Biden also said with the increased push to roll out the vaccine “at least 90% of all adults in this country will be eligible to be vaccinated by April the 19th, just three weeks from now, because we have the vaccines. For the vast, vast majority of adults, you won't have to wait until May 1."
However, during a White House health briefing earlier this week, both Biden and the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, voiced dire warnings that too many Americans were easing COVID-19 protocols.
Biden said if that continued, the U.S. could see a “fourth surge” of COVID-19. Walensky said she had a feeling of “impending doom” at the rising cases of COVID-19.
Worldwide, there have been 130 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 2.8 million deaths. The U.S. leads all nations with 30.6 million cases of the virus, and 554,069 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center on Friday.
Compared with the U.S., European nations are struggling to get vaccination programs up to speed.
The World Health Organization said only 10% of Europe's total population has received one vaccine dose, and just 4% have received two doses.
One reason for the lag among European nations is their reliance on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. There have been reports of blood clotting in some people given the shot. The Netherlands on Friday followed Germany, which halted use of the vaccine for people younger than 60.
Incidents of people developing blood clots are rare. The European Medicines Agency has said the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe.
"We must err on the side of caution, which is why it is wise to press the pause button now as a precaution," Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said, according to Reuters.
France announced on Thursday plans for a third national lockdown to counter rising COVID-19 cases.
Also Friday, the CDC updated guidance to say that fully vaccinated people can travel without observing quarantines, although they should still wear masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently.
It also issued guidance to the cruise ship industry, saying COVID-19 vaccinations were necessary before they could resume passenger voyages.
"COVID-19 vaccination efforts will be critical in the safe resumption of passenger operations," the CDC said.
The CDC said it would issue additional guidance before it would allow cruises to resume, according to Reuters.
The Cruise Lines International Association, which represents Carnival Corp., Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises and others had pushed the CDC to issue new guidance. In a March 24 statement, the industry said the "lack of any action by the CDC has effectively banned all sailings in the largest cruise market in the world." It did not immediately comment on Friday, according to Reuters.