White House concedes US likely to miss July 4 COVID-19 vaccine target

Coronavirus Vaccine

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The White House acknowledged it will not meet President Joe Biden’s goal of delivering at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose to 70% of U.S. adults by July 4, officials confirmed Tuesday.

The Biden administration released the new data Tuesday during a briefing, showing it expects to reach 70% of Americans age 27 or older with at least one shot by the July 4 holiday but will fall short on Biden’s goal for adults 18 and older.

A White House official said it is now redoubling its focus on vaccinating younger Americans age 18-26, who have proved to be least likely to get a vaccine when it’s available for them.

The White House said meeting Biden’s vaccination goal is less important than the pace of the nation’s reopening, which is exceeding even its own internal projections as the overwhelming majority of the nation’s most vulnerable people are fully vaccinated and cases and deaths are at their lowest rates since the earliest days of the pandemic.

Still, the nationwide rate of new vaccinations has dropped off precipitously over the past month even as shots have become more available, with fewer than 300,000 Americans now getting their first dose per day on average.

The White House launched a month-long blitz to combat vaccine hesitancy and a lack of urgency to get shots, particularly in the South and Midwest. The administration previously insisted that even if the goal isn’t reached, it will have little effect on the overall U.S. recovery, which is already ahead of where Biden said it would be months ago.

Mass vaccination sites from Las Vegas to Ohio have closed. At a Miami mass vaccination site, only 26 cars pulled through in one hour, NewsNation observed. Officials said at its peak the site was serving 600 people per hour.

Fifteen of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., have delivered at least one shot to 70% of adults 18 and older. States have implement incentives like million-dollar prizesfree beer and countless other giveaways around the country that have failed to significantly move the needle on vaccine hesitancy.

Americans at highest risk for complications from COVID-19 are overwhelmingly vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but only 53% aged 25-39 have received one dose. Among those 18-24, it’s 47%.

“What we’ve seen, as we’ve dug into the data, is that there is a big gap between individuals 25 and over, and 18 to 25,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. “That means that’s an area we need to continue to work on.”

To date 65.4% of the adult U.S. population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 144.3 million adults are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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