White House concedes US won’t hit July 4 COVID goal

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden’s administration concedes it won’t meet its goal of administering one or more doses of the COVID vaccine to 70% of US adults by July 4.

“We think it’ll take a few extra weeks to get to 70 percent of all adults with at least one shot,” says Jeffrey Zients, head of the White House COVID response team.

As of today, 65.4% of those aged 18 years and older had received one or more doses of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shots.

But the vaccination rate has been declining since April, when it hit a peak average of 3.4 million daily shots. The latest average is around 850,000 daily shots.

Adult vaccination rates vary greatly by state. The Northeast has some of the highest uptake, with Vermont leading the charge at 84% partially vaccinated and 75% fully vaccinated.

The bottom of the table is dominated by states in the South, with Mississippi having vaccinated just 45% of adults with one shot and 37% with two.

According to surveys carried out by the Kaiser Family Foundation, unvaccinated adults are significantly younger, less educated, more likely to be Republicans, people of color and uninsured.

Despite missing the Independence Day goal, Zients says the administration had “succeeded beyond our highest expectations” in returning the nation to a pre-pandemic normal.

“Instead of just small backyard gatherings, America is getting ready for a truly historic Fourth of July, with large celebrations planned in communities across the country,” he says.

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