President Joe Biden says the United States expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccines for all adult Americans by the end of May, two months earlier than anticipated.
Biden's administration also announced that drugmaker Merck & Co will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson's one-dose Covid shot, approved by US regulators this week.
With the bolstered supply, Biden announced he would be using the powers of the federal government to direct all states to prioritise vaccinating teachers, and said the federal government would provide the doses directly through its pharmacy programme.
He challenged states to administer at least one dose to all teachers by the end of this month as part of his administration's efforts to reopen more schools across the nation.
"We're now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May," said Biden, who likened the partnership between the two drug companies to the spirit of national cooperation during World War II.
The White House is looking to speed the production of the single-dose J&J vaccine and accelerate the nation's plans to reach "herd immunity" and begin restoring normalcy after the pandemic.
Biden noted that vaccine supply was only one bottleneck toward that goal, and that the new challenge will be injecting doses into arms as swiftly as possible.
To that end, the Biden administration today told governors to prepare for their supplies of vaccine to continue to climb over the coming weeks. Additional doses are also heading towards a federally backed programme to administer doses in more accessible retail pharmacies.
Those pharmacies will be key in getting the vaccines to teachers, which will help reopen schools to better educate students who have been at risk at falling behind during the pandemic.
"Let's treat in-person learning as the essential service that it is," Biden said.
Biden had originally suggested that the supply would be enough to vaccinate every adult American by the end of July.
But despite the good news, he was leery of predicting when the nation would return to normal. He said, "My hope is by this time next year we're going to be back to normal," adding that he maybe it could come sooner.
Officials have said J&J faced unexpected production issues with its vaccine and produced only 3.9 million doses before getting emergency use authorisation on Saturday (Sunday NZT). The company has promised to deliver 100m doses by the end of June.
On a call with governors on Tuesday, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said states should prepare for administering 16-17m total weekly doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of March, climbing to 17-18m weekly by early April.
The supply of J&J doses to states, expected to dip after the initial shipment this week, will climb to 4-6m weekly doses by the end of March and 5-6m doses weekly through the end of April.
More than 800,000 doses of the J&J vaccine will also be distributed this week to pharmacies to administer in a separate federally run programme that also includes 2.4m doses of the other two shots. Both figures are expected to steadily increase, as the White House increasingly looks to the capacity of pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens to help speed the nation's mass vaccination campaign.