Biden seeks to vaccinate 70% of US adults by July 4
U.S. President Joe Biden has set a new target to vaccinate 70% of adults, if not more, with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July, the White House announced on Tuesday, AP reports.
The new goal, which also includes fully vaccinating 160 million adults by Independence Day, comes as demand for vaccines has dropped off markedly nationwide, with some states leaving more than half their vaccine doses unordered. Biden will call for states to make vaccines available on a walk-in basis and will direct many pharmacies to do the same, and his administration is for the first time moving to shift doses from states with weaker demand to areas with stronger interest in the shots.
Biden’s goal is a tacit acknowledgment of the declining interest in shots. Already more than 56% of adult Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 105 million are fully vaccinated. The U.S. is currently administering first doses at a rate of about 965,000 per day – half the rate of three weeks ago, but almost twice as fast as needed to meet Biden's target.
Senior administration officials previewed the announcement Tuesday before Biden's planned speech from the White House. It comes as the Biden administration has shifted away from setting a target for the U.S. to reach ‘herd immunity,’ but instead focusing on delivering as many shots into arms as possible. Officials said that Biden's vaccination target would result in a significant reduction in COVID-19 cases heading into the summer.
To that end, the Biden administration is shifting the government's focus toward expanding smaller and mobile vaccination clinics to deliver doses to harder-to-reach communities. It is also deploying hundreds of millions of dollars to try to boost interest in vaccines through education campaigns and access to shots through community organizations that can help bring people to clinics.
Governors were informed of the change by the White House Tuesday morning. The Washington Post first reported on the new allocation.