The Biden administration said Tuesday that it is unlikely to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of getting 70% of American adults to receive one or more vaccinations by July 4th.
White House Covid Tsar Jeff Zients said the government has reached its 70 percent target for people 30 and older and is well on its way to achieving it by July 4th for those 27 and older.
“We believe it will take a few more weeks to reach 70% of adults with at least one vaccination, including those aged 18-26,” he said.
Still, Zients insisted that the White House “exceeded our highest expectations” in its vaccination program and achieved a vision for Biden in March of gathering friends and family safely to celebrate the holiday.
Biden set two goals in early May: to have 70% of adults in the United States given at least one vaccination, and to fully vaccinate 160 million American adults by Independence Day.
About 65% of American adults will have had one or more injections by Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A CNBC analysis of the CDC data shows that with the current vaccination schedule, about 67% of adults are at least partially vaccinated by the fourth.
According to CDC data, around 144 million people aged 18 and over are fully vaccinated, on the way to reaching around 151 million if the current pace of daily vaccinations reported remains constant.
United States President Joe Biden speaks during an event in the South Court Auditorium of the White House on June 2, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong | Getty Images
When Biden first announced his two goals on May 4th, the US was well on its way to scoring both. However, according to CDC data, the vaccination rate has fallen in the weeks since the seven-day average from 2.2 million vaccinations per day in all age groups to 1.1 million on June 21.
The government has easily met its previous vaccination goals in the first 100 days of the president’s tenure. Biden initially targeted 100 million vaccinations in 100 days, which was criticized as being too easy, and achieved it on day 58. The White House raised the target to 200 million vaccinations, which it surpassed on the 92nd day of the presidency.
Amid the vaccination campaign, nationwide case numbers have dropped to levels not seen since the early days of the pandemic, although the risk of disease remains for the unvaccinated.
Zients said many younger Americans are less eager to get a vaccination and stressed the importance of vaccinations for this age group due to the spread of the Delta variant.
Biden warned on Friday that the highly contagious variant, first identified in India, appears to be “particularly dangerous” for young people.
“The data is clear: if you are not vaccinated, there is a risk that you will become seriously ill, or die, or spread,” Biden said during a White House press conference.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have already reached Biden’s goal, led by Vermont, Hawaii and Massachusetts, where more than 80% of adults are at least partially vaccinated.
Other states are lagging behind, 17 of which are below the 60% mark. These include Mississippi, Louisiana, Wyoming, and Alabama, each of which less than 50% of its adult residents hit one or more shots.
“Our work doesn’t stop on July 4th or at 70%,” said Zients, calling Biden’s goals a “goal worth striving for in order to make progress in a short period of time.”
“We want every American in every community to be protected and free from fear of the virus,” Zients said.
– CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.