The Biden administration on Tuesday celebrated the progress it’s made in vaccinating Americans for COVID-19, even as it conceded it will fall short of its goal of having 70% of adults receive at least one shot by July 4.
What You Need To Know
- The Biden administration conceded Tuesday that it will fall short of its goal of having 70% of adults receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by July 4
- The White House, however, celebrated the progress it’s made in vaccinating Americans for COVID-19
- Among the accomplishments, health officials said, was that virus cases and deaths are down significantly and nearly every state is open for most activities
- Currently, 65.4% of American adults are at least partially vaccinated
Biden announced the goal in early May, but the pace of vaccinations has steadily declined since April as many Americans remain hesitant.
Currently, 65.4% of American adults are at least partially vaccinated.
Nevertheless, at a news briefing Tuesday, federal health officials touted the strides that have been made rather than dwell on the missed goal.
Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 response coordinator, noted that in March, Biden set another goal of Americans being able to hold small backyard cookouts this Independence Day. Instead, “America is getting ready for a truly historic Fourth of July, with large celebrations planned in communities across the country,” Zients said.
“Since the president took office, COVID-19 cases and deaths are down by over 90%,” he added. “Nearly every state is open for most activities, and the economy is rebounding strongly.”
Zients also lauded the Biden administration for its role in Americans receiving 300 shots in 150 days. If it had maintained the pace that vaccinations were at when the president took office, it would have taken another six months to reach that point, Zients said.
“America would have looked a lot different than it does today,” Zients said. “We would have lost more lives, more people would have gotten sick, and many of our businesses, restaurants and schools would still be closed. The president understood that we did not have a day to waste, and we have moved at an unprecedented speed.”
The White House, however, nudged the goal posts some Tuesday, praising itself for 70% of Americans 30 and older having already received at least one shot and for the country being on track to at least partially vaccinate 70% of people 27 and older by July 4.
It’ll take a “few weeks” to reach the original goal of 70% of all adults, Zients said.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have, however, met that goal themselves.
The White House also won’t reach its other July 4 target of having 160 million people fully vaccinated. The country surpassed the 150 million milestone Monday and should reach 160 million by mid-July at the latest, Zients said.
Health officials said that the White House’s efforts will continue with the same intensity it showed in pursuing those goals. The Biden administration created a number of initiatives aimed at getting more people vaccinated, including partnering with Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to and from vaccination sites and offering incentives such as free plane tickets, sports tickets and gift cards.
Despite one brief uptick, however, the pace of vaccinations has continued to fall — down from nearly 3.4 million shots a day in April to around 850,000 a day now.
A Gallup poll released earlier this month found that nearly a quarter of adults do not plan to get vaccinated.
But health officials say they won’t stop trying to sway the vaccine hesitant, noting that variants, particularly the growing Delta variant, could lead to regional outbreaks.
“That's not the goal line. That's the aspirational goal,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser said of the 70% goal. “The goal line is to completely crush this outbreak.”