US President Joe Biden said he will meet his goal of 100 million Covid-19 shots into people's arms within the first 100 days of his presidency sometime Friday.
He announced the projected milestone as part of remarks he gave from the White House on Thursday afternoon, while encouraging people not to let their guard down amid the spread of new Covid variants.
“I’m proud to announce that tomorrow, 58 days into our administration, we will have met my goal of administering 100 million shots to our fellow Americans. That’s weeks ahead of schedule,” Mr Biden said.
Aside from his presidential goal, the US earlier in March reached 100 million vaccinations after two vaccines were federally approved in December, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Eight weeks ago, only eight per cent of seniors, those most vulnerable to Covid-19, had received a vaccination," Mr Biden declared. "Today, 65 per cent of people age 65 or older have received at least one shot and 36 per cent are fully vaccinated.
"And that’s key, because this is the population that represents 80 per cent of the well over 500,000 Covid-19 deaths that have occurred in America."
Mr Biden said he will announce a new goal for US vaccinations in the near future. He also reiterated that the country will have enough doses for all adults in the US by the end of May, with a goal for "closer to normal" life by July 4.
Meanwhile, the pace of vaccinations has ramped up after a rocky start. But 2.47 million doses were given per day over the last week, according to a Bloomberg vaccine tracker.
Overall, 113 million shots have been administered nationwide since December, according to the US health agency.
The agency says at least 22 per cent of people have had at least one dose, while over 12 per cent are fully vaccinated.
However, Mr Biden emphasised continued caution and pointed to a rise of coronavirus cases in more than a dozen states, with concern over new variants.
“In the last week, we’ve seen increases in the number of cases in several states," he said.
"Scientists have made clear that things may get worse as new variants of this virus spread. Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to fight back against these variants. While millions of people are vaccinated, we need millions more to be vaccinated. And again, I need you to get vaccinated when it comes, when it’s your turn. You’re able to do that."
The country is currently averaging 54,000 new cases each day, according to health authorities.
All three "variants of concern", so labelled by the World Health Organisation, are spreading uncontrolled and undetected in the US. The agency also has its eye on home-grown variants in New York and California.
Mr Biden referred to the current situation in Europe – with rising cases and new lockdowns in countries like France and Italy – as a cautionary tale for Americans to be cautious and work towards herd immunity via vaccinations.
His chief medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, agreed that the US is in a race between variants and vaccines.
“There still are challenges ahead, particularly with regard to the variants that have now become very familiar to us," he said in a Senate hearing on Thursday.
“They are mutational changes in the virus strains that challenge us both from the standpoint of spreading more rapidly, having a greater degree of pathogenesis and even evading some of our monoclonal antibodies.”