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More Americans to become eligible for vaccines and FEMA sites to open

A health worker collects a swab sample from a passenger for coronavirus testing at a railway station in New Delhi on Thursday. (Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images)
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More states are expanding the vaccine eligibility for younger people and those without underlying health conditions as the Biden administration promises that 200 million doses will be administered by April 30.

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Biden initially pledged that 100 million shots would be delivered during his first 100 days in office, but doubled his commitment Thursday. The U.S. is already on track to meet his revised goal.

About 2.5 million Americans are vaccinated a day, a pace that needs to be maintained for the administration to reach the 200 million mark, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said in a Friday coronavirus briefing.

“This is an unprecedented pace. No country has ever vaccinated this many people this fast,” he said, adding that three new vaccination operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be set up in Boston, Norfolk and Newark.

At least 34 states plan to make coronavirus vaccines eligible to all adults by mid-April as others focus their attention to meeting Biden’s May 1 goal, according to a Washington Post review.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The United States is on pace to clear President Biden’s new goal of 200 million coronavirus shots in his first 100 days. The revised target is twice the original but sets Biden up to declare victory on an issue that will help define his nascent presidency.
  • Backing a controversial theory without evidence, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield claimed in a CNN interview Friday that he believes the virus originated in a lab in China — an assertion disputed later in the day by the country’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci. After Redfield’s comments, Maryland lawmakers called for him to step down as a medical adviser to Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
  • The European Medicines Agency announced plans on Friday for new manufacturing sites that will scale up production and supply of the AstraZeneca, BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
  • The European Union released new figures showing it has exported more coronavirus vaccine doses than it has administered, but leaders meeting for a virtual summit played down the threat of blocking shipments leaving the bloc.
  • Brazil reported a record high of 100,000 new coronavirus cases in a day Thursday, just days after the country’s official death toll from the pandemic surpassed 300,000.
  • The NFL and the players’ union have no plans at this point to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for players, coaches or staff members.
  • More than 30 million people have been infected by the coronavirus in the United States since the pandemic began and more than 547,000 people have died. More than 87 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.