“We think it’ll take a few extra weeks to get to 70 percent of all adults with at least one shot, with the 18-26-year-olds factored in,” White House Covid czar Jeff Zients said in a call with reporters.
The administration had announced an array of programs to help meet the goal of vaccinating 160 million American adults by the Independence Day holiday, which was set by President Joe Biden in May. Those included arranging for free child care while parents received the vaccine, in addition to keeping some vaccination sites open 24 hours each day. Anheuser-Busch partnered with the administration last month as well, saying it would provide a free beer to Americans 21 and older if the country reached the 70 percent goal.
Demand for Covid-19 vaccines has nonetheless declined over the last month. Just 53 percent of Americans — or 150 million people — were fully vaccinated as of June 22, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Zients emphasized that 70 percent of adults aged 30 and older had received the vaccine. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain pushed the same message online, writing on Twitter, “150 million Americans fully vaccinated, 70 percent of everyone over 30 with one shot — and more to come before July 4th.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci conveyed a slightly different message on Tuesday’s call, saying July 4 had been a minor goal. “Our aspirational goal for July 4th was 70 percent of the adult population receiving at least one dose,” Fauci said. “But that is not the goal line, nor is it the end game. The end game is to go well beyond that, beyond July 4, into the summer and beyond, with the ultimate goal of crushing the outbreak completely in the United States.”
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