June 22 (UPI) — The United States won’t hit President Joe Biden’s goal of 70% of all adults vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 shot by July 4, a White House task force announced Tuesday.
As of Tuesday afternoon more than 177 million adults 18 years old and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 shot and more than 150 million are fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures. That accounts for 65.4% of adults with at least one dose, shy of the 70% target.
White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said the United States should reach that goal “a few extra weeks” after the July 4 holiday weekend. He said the country has met the 70% goal for Americans 30 years old and older, and should hit the goal by the end of July 4 weekend for Americans 27 and older.
“Where the country has more work to do is particularly with 18- to 26-year-olds,” he said during a White House briefing on the virus. “The reality is many younger Americans have felt like COVID-19 is not something that impacts them and they’ve been less eager to get the shot.”
He warned that the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus is spreading throughout communities in the United States and that the unvaccinated are particularly vulnerable.
“It’s now more important than ever for them to get vaccinated,” Zients said. “Our work doesn’t stop at July Fourth or when we hit 70 percent.”
Biden set the goal in May in an attempt to boost vaccination rates, which have slowed in recent weeks. The United States vaccinated a peak of seven-day rolling average of 3.38 million Americans in a day in mid-April, a figure that dropped to below 1 million in early June. That figure increased slightly to 1.15 million on Monday, according to Our World in Data.
Biden also sought to have 160 million adults fully vaccinated by Independence Day.
Despite not quite hitting the goal, Zients highlighted that 16 states have hit the 70% goal, as well as Americans over the age of 30.
“That’s life-saving progress,” he said.
“Throughout the last 5 months the president has set goals to rally the American people behind defeating the virus with the most important and most ambitious being to celebrate our independence from the virus on July Fourth — for America to look like America again.”