March 12 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 4:52 p.m. ET, March 15, 2021
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3:35 p.m. ET, March 12, 2021

US tops 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

Syringes with doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine await recipients at a vaccination site at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on March 11, in Los Angeles.
Syringes with doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine await recipients at a vaccination site at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on March 11, in Los Angeles. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

More than 101 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The tally includes doses administered since the first shot on December 14, 2020.

More than 2.9 million more doses were reported administered since yesterday, marking a new daily record. The seven-day average of reported doses administered is about 2.3 million.

Overall, the CDC reports that 101,128,005 doses have been administered – about 76% of the 133,337,525 doses delivered.

More than 1 in 10 people in the US – about 35 million people – are now fully vaccinated, and about 1 in 5 people – nearly 66 million people – have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been given on the day reported.

4:01 p.m. ET, March 12, 2021

Biden: Stimulus package is "only the beginning" and puts workers first in revitalizing economy

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

President Biden touted his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus bill, saying it “changes the paradigm” for workers in the United States. 

“For the first time in a long time, this bill puts working people in this nation first,” Biden said in remarks during a Rose Garden speech today.

The President said that “we’ve seen time and time again” that trickle-down economics does not work.

“This time, it’s time that we build an economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out,” he said. 

The American Rescue Plan represents a rebuilding of the working class, “the backbone of this country,” he added.

Biden added that he views the legislation as “only the beginning” of his administration’s efforts, and there is more work to be done. 

“We're not finished yet. Conditions can change. The scientists have warned us about new variants of this virus, and the devil is in the details of implementing this legislation,” he said.

“It's one thing to pass the American Rescue Plan. It's going to be another thing to implement it. It's going to require fastidious oversight to make sure there's no waste or fraud and the law does what it's designed to do, and I mean it. We have to get this right. Details matter, because we have to continue to build confidence in the American people that their government can function for them and deliver,” Biden added.

Watch his speech:

4:02 p.m. ET, March 12, 2021

Biden: "This legislation includes the biggest investment in childcare since WWII"

 Alex Wong/Getty Images
 Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden highlighted portions of his administration’s massive $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill, particularly the impact it will make on families, during an event at the White House's Rose Garden this afternoon.

"This legislation extends unemployment insurance by $300 a week until September. It's going to help 11 million Americans who were days from losing that benefit. This legislation includes the biggest investment in childcare since World War II. That's not just hyperbole. That's a fact. It's a fact," Biden said.

More on the bill: The bill provides direct payments worth up to $1,400 per person to married couples earning less than $160,000, heads of households earning less than $120,000 a year and individuals earning less than $80,000 a year.

Individuals earning less than $75,000 will receive the full $1,400. Married couples earning less than $150,000 a year will receive $2,800 — and families with children are eligible for an additional $1,400 per dependent. Heads of households earning less than $112,500 a year will also receive the full $1,400 plus another $1,400 per dependent.

4:02 p.m. ET, March 12, 2021

Biden and Harris celebrate passage of Covid-19 relief package at White House event: "Help has arrived"

Pool
Pool

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are holding an event alongside Democratic leaders at the White House's Rose Garden to celebrate the passage of their administration’s massive $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill.

Biden signed the legislation into law yesterday, and stimulus payments will start going out to millions of Americans as soon as this weekend.

"To the members of the House and Senate, thanks for making this happen," Biden said in his remarks. "You made it happen. As I said, I served 36 years in the Senate and I know how hard it is to pass major consequential legislation, particularly when we only have such minor and small majorities in both houses."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised Biden's leadership and thanked Democrats who worked on the bill. 

"It's been a long and difficult year here in America. We've lost so many in so short a time, but finally hope is on the horizon and help is on the way," Schumer said.

Harris also used her remarks to thank Biden for his leadership, saying he "had a purpose" and "had faith" that the American people would support the plan.

"Americans will see what we did here. What you did, Mr. President. And they will feel the impact of this bill for generations to come," Harris said. "Because of you, Mr. President, help has arrived, and on behalf of our nation, thank you."

Key features of the relief package include:

  • Up to $1,400-per-person stimulus payments that will send money to about 90% of households (Use our calculator to see if you'll qualify for a stimulus check.)
  • $300 federal boost to weekly jobless benefits
  • An expansion of the child tax credit of up to $3,600 per child
  • $350 billion in state and local aid, as well as billions of dollars for K-12 schools to help students return to the classroom, to assist small businesses hard-hit by the pandemic and for vaccine research, development and distribution.
  • Extends a 15% increase in food stamp benefits through September
  • Helps low-income households cover rent

The President and other top officials will promote the coronavirus relief package next week by hitting the road on what the White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the “Help is Here Tour.”

In a prime-time address last night, Biden said he will direct US states to open vaccine eligibility to all adults by May, a step he said could allow for small Independence Day gatherings on July 4.

Watch the moment:

CNN's Betsy Klein contributed reporting to this post.

1:46 p.m. ET, March 12, 2021

France approves Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine

From CNN's Sandrine Amiel

France approved Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine on Friday, a spokesperson for the French National Authority for Health confirmed to CNN.

The move comes just a day after the vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical company Janssen received conditional marketing authorization from the European Medicines Agency.

It is the fourth coronavirus vaccine to get approval from the French health authority, following Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

France, along with other nations in the European Union, has faced criticism for the slow rollout of its vaccine campaign. 

As of Thursday, more than 4 million people in France had received at least a first injection, while more than 2 million have gotten a second injection.

1:39 p.m. ET, March 12, 2021

White House says it's turning down vaccine requests from other countries

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

The US has received requests from "around the world" for doses of Covid-19 vaccine but so far has not fulfilled any of them, the White House says.

That is because President Biden's "priority and focus is on ensuring the American people are vaccinated" before delivering vaccines to other countries, according to press secretary Jen Psaki.

She was answering a question about why the US is sitting on tens of millions of doses of a vaccine made by AstraZeneca, which isn't yet authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration but is approved for use in dozens of other countries.

The situation has caused concern in places struggling to secure enough vaccine supply, principally in Europe.

Even as the US buys up millions of doses of the three vaccines granted emergency use authorization — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — it has also maintained an inventory of AstraZeneca that cannot be distributed as it proceeds through the FDA process.

"We want to make sure we have maximal flexibility, that we are oversupplied and over prepared and that we have the ability to provide vaccines — whatever the most effective ones are — to the American public," Psaki said. "There are still 1,400 people who are dying in our country everyday."

"At this time there have been requests from around the world — of course — a number of countries who have requested doses from the US and we have not provided doses from the US government to anyone. This is not about Europe, this is about our focus and priority," she said. 

She said while US companies have contract obligations to deliver doses to the US government, they were still free to make deals with other countries.

Asked if Biden felt he had a moral obligation to deliver vaccines to other countries, she said his focus was on containing the US crisis.

"He wants to have, as a leader of this country, to have maximum flexibility," she said, adding he still wanted to signal the US wants to be "collaborative and cooperative" with the global community.

1:39 p.m. ET, March 12, 2021

WHO will continue administrating AstraZeneca vaccinations while awaiting advisory committee guidance

From CNN's Virigina Langmaid

The World Health Organization is continuing with administration of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine while the organization’s Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety reviews reports of adverse events post-vaccine, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a news conference Friday. 

Several countries have halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of blood clots in people who had received the vaccination. 

“It is important to note that the European Medicines Agency has said there is no indication of a link between the vaccine and blood clots, and that the vaccine can continue to be used while its investigation is ongoing,” said Tedros. 

“WHO is very much aligned with the position that we should continue the immunization until we have clarified the causal relationship,” said Dr. Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant director-general. Simao added that WHO’s COVAX program for vaccine distribution sources its AstraZeneca vaccines from India and South Korea, facilities which have not been linked to the adverse events. 

"People die every day. We have more than 300 million people who have been immunized globally,” said Simao. “There will be people who have been immunized who will die but of course you know in this system, so far the preliminary data we have seen doesn’t lead to a causal relationship.”

Currently, WHO’s position maintains that vaccination at all is valuable in preventing deaths. 

“Covid has killed over 2.6 million people so far globally, just the known and documented deaths, and we believe that there must be more than that. And after 330 million vaccine doses that have been deployed, we are not aware of any one confirmed Covid vaccine related death. There have been deaths following vaccination in people, but people die of diseases every day, it hasn’t been a single confirmed,” said WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan. 

“It’s very important to reassure people, especially in the countries that the vaccines have just been rolled out. This is the time, and we want people to take the vaccines that are available, because all the vaccines approved to date to prevent severe disease and hospitalization and they are definitely preventing people from dying of Covid-19. And that’s what we want,” she said.

1:32 p.m. ET, March 12, 2021

Californians with disabilities and certain health conditions will eligible for vaccines starting Monday

From CNN's Stella Chan

Starting Monday, any Californian with certain health conditions and disabilities will be eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccination, according to guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Categories include cancer, chronic kidney disease, pulmonary disease, Down Syndrome, organ transplant, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, heart conditions, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Also eligible are those with a developmental or high-risk disability.

To protect confidentiality, vaccine seekers will not have to present proof of a health condition or disability but will sign a “self-attestation” that they meet the criteria as high-risk, according to the CPDH.

The state warns that the national vaccine supply is limited, “so appointments for the 4.4 million Californians with these conditions or disabilities will not be immediately available to all who are eligible,” and slots will open as more vaccine is available.

The state boasts 10.9 million vaccines administered. The CDPH says nearly 3.6 million Californians are fully vaccinated.

1:02 p.m. ET, March 12, 2021

White House says there will be 100 million Johnson & Johnson doses by the end of May

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Adams 12 Five Star Schools District RN Tiffany Karschamroon grabs a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as she prepares to draw doses on March 6 in Thornton, Colorado.
Adams 12 Five Star Schools District RN Tiffany Karschamroon grabs a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as she prepares to draw doses on March 6 in Thornton, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

The White House provided some clarity on the vaccine supply needed to meet the goal of having enough vaccines for all 300 million American adults by the end of May. 

There will be 200 million doses each of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, per the White House, but they expect an increase in Johnson & Johnson vaccine availability due to its partnership with Merck.

That additional amount, White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients said, “Is the figure that Johnson & Johnson has talked about in terms of their cumulative doses by the end of this month.”

“The work that we did, working with Johnson & Johnson and Merck to accelerate their manufacturing process, particularly the fill-finish piece, which is relevant in this timeframe, has it so that Johnson & Johnson is now, delivering at or near its 100 million by the end of May," Zients explained.

He continued, “So if you take the 200 million doses by the end of May of Moderna, plus the 200 million doses of Pfizer, plus the at or near 100 million completions of the Johnson & Johnson first contract, that is more than enough vaccine supplies to vaccinate all adult Americans by the end of May,” adding that the next step is to ramp up vaccinators and vaccination sites to accelerate the process.

The US adult population is approximately 255 million people, according to Census data. The US will have enough vaccine supply to fully vaccinated 300 million people by the end of May, according to the Biden administration and projections provided by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky declined to provide a number for how many Americans the administration would like to see vaccinated when Americans begin to gather again around the Fourth of July, as President Biden outlined in his address Friday.

Walensky instead suggested it will be dependent on the conditions of the pandemic at the time.

“Maybe I'll just address the second, the first question and that is, we're not looking at a single metric of a fraction of people vaccinated in a vacuum. We're looking at it in the context of what's going on with the pandemic as well, so I don't think we can put a single metric on that, as well as what's happening in what science has emerged with regard to vaccinated people, so it's hard to put a metric on a single number,” Walensky said.