The United States is likely to miss President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of U.S. adults partially or fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by the July 4 Independence Day holiday; but, the White House says the U.S. could reach that mark for adults 27 or older.
In a new assessment Tuesday of the country’s vaccination effort, COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients is expected to say the federal government now will focus on convincing those who are 18 to 26 years of age to get vaccinated, a White House official said.
Many young U.S. adults, for various reasons, have shown little interest in getting vaccinated, especially since the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths has fallen sharply in the country in recent weeks and many businesses have reopened without facemask and social distancing restrictions that had been in place for more than a year.
Overall, however, since the pandemic first spread widely in the U.S. in March 2020, the country has recorded more than 602,000 deaths and 33.5 million infections, more than in any other country, according to the Johns Hopkins University.Johns Hopkins: 177.8 Million Global COVID InfectionsFrench and German leaders urge vigilance against COVID-19 variants
Biden, who set the 70% vaccination goal for the July 4 holiday, has not publicly acknowledged it is unlikely to be met.
Like on many divisive political issues in the U.S., a sharp split has developed on getting vaccinated, with numerous Democratic states that voted for Biden in last November’s election showing higher vaccination rates than Republican states that voted for his predecessor, President Donald Trump.
Some of the lowest vaccination rates have been recorded in southern states that Trump won handily and where skepticism is widespread about the need to be vaccinated.
Trump and former first lady Melania Trump, who both contracted the virus, were privately vaccinated before he left office in January, but Trump often downplayed the spread of the infection in the U.S. Both Biden and first lady Jill Biden were vaccinated on live television before he took office. They have made numerous appeals to Americans to get the shot. Joe Biden receives his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at ChristianaCare Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., Dec. 21, 2020, from nurse practitioner Tabe Mase. Zients is expected to say that 70% of Americans 30 and older already have received at least one shot, a Biden official said. The pace of inoculations, however, has fallen markedly in recent weeks even though plenty of shots are available.
The White House is planning a large July 4 celebration on the South Lawn with about 1,000 guests expected to attend the picnic and watch the fireworks celebrating the country’s 1776 independence from Britain.
Even as Biden likely misses the 70% vaccination rate for adults, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week, “We’ve made tremendous progress in our vaccination efforts to date, and the ultimate goal has been to get America back to normal … and we’re looking forward to doing that even here at the White House.”