Feb. 25 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris marked the milestone of 50 million COVID-19 vaccines being administered with a White House ceremony Thursday, praising the pace of inoculations.
Biden said the United States is ahead of schedule to meet his goal of reaching 100 million doses administered in his first 100 days in office. Thursday was Biden's 39th day in office, which puts him 11 days ahead of schedule.
"At first, critics said that goal was too ambitious, no one could do that, then they said it was too small, but the bottom line though is that America will be the first country, perhaps the only one to get that done," he said.
The South Court Auditorium ceremony included the vaccination of four essential employees from the Washington, D.C., area.
Biden warned, though, that the country has "a long way to go" to reach herd immunity. He also cautioned that those who are fully vaccinated should still practice mitigation efforts until the pandemic is over since none of the vaccines on the market is 100% effective.
"I can only promise that we'll work as hard as we can to make that day come as soon as possible," Biden said. "Remember, we can do this. This is the United States of America. There is nothing we can't do when we do it together. It's not over, but we're getting close."
Since the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved in mid-December, about 91.7 million doses have been distributed to health centers nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 68.3 million total doses have been administered, over the last month of the Trump administration and the first month of Biden's.
Earlier Thursday, Harris visited a Washington, D.C., supermarket to promote the administration's federal retail pharmacy program, which was created to speed up immunizations and reach more people. Pharmacies have so far delivered 1 million doses to more than 6,500 pharmacies nationwide.