President Joe Biden has frequently touted his administration’s effort to distribute COVID-19 vaccinations across the nation, signaling his desire to see 70% of U.S. adults at least partially inoculated by Independence Day.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, however, acknowledged this week that it will take a “few extra weeks” to achieve the goal.
More than half of all adults in the country are fully vaccinated and about 65% have received at least one shot, according to reports, so Biden’s campaign has delivered real dividends.
Those efforts have lost momentum in recent weeks, though, and the numbers are slowing down just shy of the 70% of adults the president hoped would have received at least one shot by July 4. He also anticipated that 160 million Americans would be fully vaccinated by that date.
Nevertheless, Zients hailed the “amazing progress” of the vaccination distribution. Writer Alex Berenson, a noted critic of the federal government’s COVID-19 response, said that the White House’s attempt to spin the bad news was “stunning.”
Berenson noted that Biden’s goal was halfway complete when he announced it in early May. At that time, 153 million Americans had received one dose of the vaccine — and only 16 million Americans have received their first dose in more than two subsequent months.
At its peak, the vaccination effort saw more than 4 million people receive a vaccination every day, compared to a rate well under 1 million per day now.
“More important than ever”
As a result of the slowdown, Biden is aggressively targeting reluctant populations, including young people who feel they are at low risk of serious illness or death from the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that there is “likely” a link between the vaccine and rare cases of heart inflammation in young adults and teens. Despite concerns about this and other troubling trends, the White House continues to insist that COVID-19 variants pose a continued risk to public safety and encourage all eligible Americans to receive their shots.
“With the Delta variant now spreading across the country and infecting younger people worldwide, it’s more important than ever that they get vaccinated,” Zients declared.
Another related debate continues to play out concerning fears of discrimination or refusal of certain services to those who choose not to receive the vaccine.
It remains to be seen whether the Biden administration’s coaxing has any impact in changing the minds of the millions of Americans who have indicated that they have no intention of receiving a shot.