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Biden got 200 million shots in arms, but what's next may be harder

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: President Biden Delivers Remarks On COVID-19 Response And State Of Vaccinations
President Joe Biden makes remarks at the White House, on April 20, 2021.Alex Wong / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The day before Joe Biden’s inauguration, we wrote that the new president’s biggest task was achieving his goal of 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days on job.

Well, he accomplished that.

Then Biden set a revised goal of 200 million doses administered in those first 100 days.

He met that, too.

And so now he faces two much more formidable vaccine challenges as he approaches his 100th day on the job next week.

One, the president has to start making a dent in the 15 to 20 percent of Americans who are resistant/hesitant to being vaccinated, according to public polling.

That’s why we’re seeing PSAs from country-music star Brad Paisley, as well as Biden’s announcement yesterday that companies should give their employees paid time off to recover from their vaccines if they need it.

And it’s coming as vaccine supply is now starting to outstrip demand in some areas.

Challenge No. 2 is ensuring that the rest of the world also gets vaccinated, especially with the news that India reported a record 312,000new confirmed cases in just one day.

“We’re looking at what is going to be done with some of the vaccines that we are not using. We’re going to make sure they are safe to be sent. And we hope to be able to be of some help and value to countries around the world,” Biden said yesterday.

As we wrote back in January, so much flows from Biden — and the United States — meeting the vaccination goals.

It leads to a stronger economy, a more optimistic public, more reopened schools and more trust in government to do big things.

And a more vaccinated world leads to a stronger global economy and improved ties with other countries.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

32,009,670: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 65,900more than yesterday morning.)

573,494: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 934 more than yesterday morning.)

215,951,909: Number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

24 percent: The share of Americans who are fully vaccinated.

7: The number of days left for Biden to reach his 100-day vaccination goal.

26 percent: The share of white Evangelicals who say they will not get vaccinated, per a new poll from PRRI and the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)

29 percent: The share of health care workers who say they have considered leaving their profession as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, per a new Washington Post/KFF poll.

51-49: The Senate vote yesterday to confirm Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general.

$2 million: The price tag on the NRA’s latest campaign against Biden’s gun control efforts.

An infrastructure counteroffer and a moderate working group

While the Biden administration continues to push its $2 trillion infrastructure package, two separate – but sometimes overlapping – groups of senators took steps forward on their own plans Wednesday, per NBC’s Garrett Haake and the NBC Capitol Hill team.

“Sen. Roger Wicker, who has been working with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and other Republicans, told NBC News [on Wednesday] that a Republican-only group would release their counter-proposal on Thursday. Minority Leader McConnell on Tuesday expressed support for the work of this group.”

“‘We’re going to advocate for quite a bit of what the president was proposing in regard to hard infrastructure,’ Wicker said, declining to discuss details ahead of tomorrow's announcement. Wicker and Capito had each previously floated a price-tag in the $600 billion to $800 billion dollar range. Both have said they would not support raising the corporate tax rate at all as a revenue source.”

Meanwhile, a group of moderate senators from both parties met to discuss ideas for a way forward on infrastructure and other issues, Haake and NBC’s Hill team report.

“‘We’re just a working group,’ Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told NBC News. ‘Democrats put out theirs, Republicans put out theirs, and we try to work in the middle and find a place to go forward.’”

EMILY’s List backs Carroll Foy in Virginia Governor's race

In the crowded Democratic primary for Virginia governor, Jennifer Carroll Foy’s campaign has been adamant that the race has turned into a two-person contest — between her and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

And EMILY’s List sees the same thing, as it endorsed Carroll Foy over state Sen. Jennifer McClellan this morning.

Both Carroll Foy and McClellan are vying to be the state’s first woman — and first Black woman — governor.

Tweet of the day

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

The U.S. will aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, Biden will announce today.

Progressives will deliver their own response to Biden’s speech to Congress.

Biden is preparing to declare that atrocities against Armenia in the World War I era were, in fact, genocide.

Remember the debt limit? It’s back.

Some Black Democrats are pushing an alternative strategy on voting rights legislation.

Julia Ainsley lays out five promises that Biden has yet to keep on immigration.

The Chauvin verdict could reinvigorate the push for police reform.