'That gives us our summers back': Local leaders hopeful as Biden promises enough vaccines by end of May
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Local leaders are applauding President Joe Biden's announcement that the U.S. is speeding up its vaccine rollout.
"We are now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May," the president said.
The president's announcement paints a sunny picture for Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow.
"That gives us summer. That gives us our summers back. We've been hoping here in the county and talking amongst ourselves that it'd be great to have July 4 back, have the parades, be able to go out and celebrate Independence Day," Farrow said.
He said he looks forward to the day when the supply meets the demand for vaccines.
Waukesha County is now ahead of its original schedule for the vaccine rollout.
Farrow told CBS 58 the county is able to start vaccinating teachers next week instead of waiting until March 15 as previously announced.
He'd like to expand operations at the Waukesha County Expo Center even further.
"The clinic (at the Expo Center) has a capacity for 7,000 doses a week. We could push that up to 10,000 if we have the availability," Farrow said.
President Biden's announcement doesn't mean everyone will be vaccinated by May 31, but it does speed up the timeline.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett called the president's promise "fabulous."
"This creates a lot of optimism, but I also know there's a tremendous amount of work that has to be done between now and whenever we put the last shot in the last arm in this city," Barrett said.
Marlaina Jackson, deputy commissioner of community health, said the Milwaukee Health Department is experiencing its first increase in vaccine allocations since it began giving out vaccines.
"We feel really good and optimistic that over the next few weeks into the next couple months we will have increased numbers," Jackson said.
The Biden administration also announced Johnson & Johnson is partnering with pharmaceutical company Merck, usually its competitor, to help produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
"You know that the companies are realizing, 'this is important' and 'we have to step up to the game.' And I think they're doing an awesome job with that," Farrow said.