Biden holds first news conference, ups COVID-19 vaccine goal to 200M shots in 100 days

The president sets the new goal during his first formal press conference.

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Joe Biden at White House lectern

President Biden speaks to the press on March 25, 2021.

Screenshot by Corinne Reichert/CNET

US President Joe Biden has announced a new COVID-19 vaccine goal: 200 million shots during his first 100 days in office. The president announced the new target on Thursday during his first formal press conference at the White House. 

"I got elected to solve problems," Biden said, adding that the most urgent problem facing the US now is COVID-19.

Read more: What can you do when you're vaccinated? CDC releases new COVID-19 guidelines

Ahead of the press conference on Thursday, the Biden administration said it was investing $10 billion to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines to "the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities across the country," with much of the funding coming from the American Rescue Plan

The US has already administered more than 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In total, 130 million people have been vaccinated in the US, according to numbers from John Hopkins University, with 43 million of them fully vaccinated. The Biden administration on Thursday said it wants to double down on efforts to build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and increase access to shots for vulnerable communities.

Biden faced scrutiny for waiting more than two months into his presidency to hold his first formal meeting with members of the press. The nine-week period is the longest stretch a new president has gone before conducting a first solo press conference in the past 100 years, according to the American Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

During the press conference, Biden also discussed opening K-8 schools across the nation, and the $1,400 stimulus checks being delivered to Americans. On immigration and gun reform, Biden said he will focus on long-term issues one at a time in future.

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