The Biden administration admitted it would miss the President’s target of vaccinating 70% of American adults by July 4, calling it an “ambitious goal.”
Jeffrey Zients, White House Covid-19 response coordinator, said 70% of Americans over the age of 30 have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. However, he said it would take “a few more weeks” to meet Joe Biden’s goal of distributing at least one jab to 70% of all adults by July 4.
Biden set the target early last month, but rollout of the vaccine in the country has slowed after a flying start as health officials grapple with vaccine hesitation.
“We have succeeded beyond our highest expectations,” Zients said at a press briefing on Tuesday. “Instead of limiting itself to small backyard gatherings, America is gearing up for a truly historic July 4th with big celebrations planned across the country.”
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have already achieved the president’s target. Among American adults aged 18 and older, 65% have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to figures from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 150 million Americans are fully immunized.
After targeting the elderly and essential workers in the first wave of vaccinations, the focus shifted to vaccinating young adults, who Zients said “felt like Covid-19 was not not something that affects them “. He said “the country still has work to do” to encourage vaccination among 18-26 year olds.
The Biden administration now expects 70% of Americans aged 27 and over to be immunized by the end of the July 4 weekend, Zients said, adding that Biden’s second goal of achieving 160 million fully vaccinated adults would be reached “no later than mid-July”.
State officials across the country have created innovative campaigns to encourage vaccine uptake, such as offering free beer and guns, as well as million dollar raffles, but the speed of the immunization program has slowed in recent weeks.
The need to inoculate refractories has taken on new urgency as the Delta variant, which first appeared in India, spreads to the United States. He has swept away across the UK and has been blamed for increasing cases in other parts of the world.
Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned of Delta’s threat to the US recovery and unvaccinated people, saying that “its transmissibility is unmistakably greater” than the original strain of Covid-19 and the Alpha variant which was first detected in the UK.