To date, almost 30 million Americans have been infected with the virus and more than 530,000 have died. New polling from Morning Consult track a clear jump in public sentiment around the vaccine: "Two and a half months into the country's COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the public's opinion of the effort has improved markedly - though they still want it to go faster".
The bill is widely popular among the American people, aims to stabilize the economy one year into the pandemic. The White House has said it would have enough vaccine supply to vaccinate the population by the end of May. The White House is also seeking to expand the pool of people able to administer shots to include dentists, optometrists, paramedics, veterinarians and medical students.
Democrats are mindful that in 2009, the last Democratic president, Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president, spent little time promoting the $800 billion economic stimulus package he and fellow Democrats helped push through Congress to help rescue the US economy from the steep recession they inherited from Republican President George W. Bush.
Biden said the number of deaths is "more than WWI, WWII, the Vietnam War and 9/11 combined". Biden and top members of his administration will embark on a victory lap in coming weeks to laud and explain the legislation, which got final approval from the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday. The package provides $400 billion for $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, an expansion of the child tax credit and increased funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Jill Biden will be joined by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on a tour Monday of Samuel Smith Elementary School in Burlington, where she is expected to talk about how the plan will help families and communities, and highlight steps the school took to reopen. Republicans argued the bill was too expensive. Biden will discuss the benefits of the pandemic relief bill during trips to Pennsylvania next Tuesday and Atlanta on March 19.
US President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that his administration will double the order of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to 200 million doses, which would bring the country's total vaccine order to 800 million doses, the Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.