Since the United States is unlikely to meet President Biden’s own deadline of July 4th to have 70 percent of American adults partially vaccinated against the coronavirus, he has set another milestone: 300 million vaccinations in his first 150 days in office.
Mr Biden spoke about the White House vaccination campaign as his administration makes one final push to meet the July 4th goal. Vice President Kamala Harris and Minister of Health and Human Resources Xavier Becerra were out on Friday to inspire enthusiasm for the vaccine. Ms. Harris was in Atlanta and Mr. Becerra went to Colorado.
“This is an important milestone,” said the president, praising the work of his government. “It just didn’t happen by itself or by accident.” He described the federal effort as one of the “greatest and most complicated logistical challenges in American history.”
Mr Biden took office with a “dark winter” warning as deaths were near the peak and vaccinations barely underway, and he is clearly trying to portray the virus as a withdrawal as he approaches six months in office . A pamphlet distributed by the White House ahead of Friday’s statements found that 15 states and Washington, DC, got at least 70 percent of adults in one shot.
“The results are clear: America is starting to look like America again and is entering a summer of joy and freedom,” the document reads.
When setting the July 4th goal in early May, Mr Biden said the meeting would show that the United States has taken “a serious step towards a return to normal,” and for many people it already seems to be to be. This week California and New York lifted virtually all of their pandemic restrictions on business and social distancing.
But the time frame is tight. An analysis by the New York Times shows that if the adult vaccination rate persists at the seven-day average, as 67.6 percent of American adults had their first vaccination, the country will just miss Mr. Biden’s 70 percent target 4 . July.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 65 percent of adults had received at least one injection by Friday. But the number of Americans getting their first shot has steadily declined, from about 500,000 a day to about 200,000 a day, since Mr Biden announced that June would be a “month of action” to achieve his goal .
“I don’t see any intervention that could really bring back an exponential increase in demand to get the kind of numbers we probably need to get to 70 percent,” said Dr. Marcus Plescia, Chief Medical Officer of the Association of State and Area Health Officials. “Every day it seems like it’s starting to trickle. I think realistically it is probably the best we can do to try to get stable at this lower level. “
Experts say the difference between 67 percent and 70 percent is insignificant from a disease control perspective. But from a political point of view, it would be the first time that Mr Biden has set a pandemic-related goal that he has not achieved. Mr. Biden has consistently set and exceeded himself relatively modest goals, including his pledge to have 100 million shots in the arms of Americans by his first 100 days in office.
Annie Karni contributed to the coverage.