Bay Area cheers Biden's ambitious projection to vaccinate U.S. by end of summer

The arrival of the vaccine, enough for all Americans, will be a big shot in the arm for public health officials.

"There could not be better news for us," said Dr. Matt Willis, Public Health Officer for Marin County. "It really feels like it's inching along and we want to go so much faster for everyone."

Thursday, President Biden announced contracts had been signed for 200 million more doses, bringing the total secured to 600 million.

That's enough for every adult in the U.S. to receive the required two injections.

And the vaccine makers have agreed to speed delivery so that everyone can be protected by the end of summer.

"We could do 10 times the volume we are doing right now," said Willis, explaining that infrastructure is ready, but doses are lacking. "If we could order 10 times the vaccine tomorrow, then next week we could get people vaccinated at ten times the rate."

The promise of appointments at drugstores, clinics, and hospitals have often been hollow.

Many people who register their interest are left wondering.      

"I'm either sent to a website that crashes or I just don't hear back from anyone," said Matthew Friedman of Albany. "It's pretty discouraging so I've kind of given up."

President Biden announced the big infusion of vaccines while visiting the National Institutes of Health.

He praised scientists for doing their jobs and slammed Donald Trump for not doing his.   

"He didn't order enough vaccines, he didn't mobilize people to give the shots, he didn't set up federal vaccine centers," said Biden. "When I took office just three weeks ago, this country did not have a plan."

Flanked by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden also urged people, even those vaccinated, to continue their COVID safeguards and mask-up.

"We're in the middle of a war with this virus so it's a patriotic responsibility," said Biden, "not only if you care about your family, but you care about your fellow Americans." 

Understandably, many people are emerging from their shots eager to be reunited with relatives they have missed.

"I've got a big smile under this mask," said George Froom, leaving his second shot at a clinic in San Rafael. "At the end of the month, I'm looking forward to connecting with family back east."

Another newly vaccinated Marinite had similar intentions.

"My mom just turned 100 and haven't been able to see her for a year so we're looking forward to that," said David Israel.

Experts say personal contact is safest if all parties are vaccinated.

"Pulling back on restrictions to say let's sit down together without a mask and we can give each other a hug, ultimately the answer is yes," Fauci said.

But not immediately, and not if one person is vaccinated, and the other isn't.

"Yeah then you've got to be careful," Fauci warned.

It's still unknown if vaccinated people can spread the virus.

"When you're vaccinated it still would be prudent to wear a mask," advised Fauci.

The CDC has yet to issue guidelines on how close- and how soon- exposure is safe for those vaccinated.

And because the vaccines aren't 100 percent effective for everyone, hugging Grandma right after her shot is not advised.

"But you can worry less about Grandma," said Willis, who is concerned if vaccinated people stop wearing masks it will scramble the public health message.

"We really need to maintain that approach across the community," said WIllis, "so we are vigilant for one another rather than have exceptions crop up here and there."

The spread of Covid variants is another reason to stay the course: masks, social distance, and hand-washing.

"It does feel like a race between the vaccine and the variants that are emerging because viruses mutate," said Willis.

"And as more and more people are vaccinated and fewer people are infected that will suppress the development of new variants."

Many newly-vaccinated individuals say they plan to proceed cautiously.

"Mentally I feel really hopeful," said Susan Young, who works in health care. "It may not be a shield quite yet, but I do feel like there's hope for the future and that's extremely positive."

Debora Villalon is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Debora at and follow her on Twitter@DeboraKTVU