The Biden administration missed its 70 percent target vaccination rate for the U.S. population as the Fourth of July holiday arrived Sunday.
Sixty-seven percent of Americans have been inoculated, representing a shortfall of 8 million people, according to the CDC.
The president said recently that the country could enjoy a “more normal Fourth of July” if a large majority of people received both doses by Independence Day.
At the Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, President Biden called vaccination “the most patriotic thing you can do.”
“Today, all across this nation, we can say with confidence: America is coming back together,” he said. “Today we’re closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus. That’s not to say the battle against COVID-19 is over. We’ve got a lot more work to do.”
The Biden administration’s vaccination campaign has targeted vulnerable communities as well as rural areas with lower vaccination rates. Rapid response teams were deployed to Colorado and Missouri in anticipation of case surges and new virus hot spots.
White House COVID Response coordinator Jeff Zients stated on CBS News’s Face the Nation Sunday that vaccine-hesitant young people have contributed to the goal miss. He also criticized the politicization of the vaccine, noting that significantly more Republicans have abstained from it.
Eighty-six percent of Democrats have received at least one shot, while 45 percent of Republicans have received their first shot, according to Face the Nation host Ed O’Keefe.
“I think President Biden has been very, very clear from day one, this is about public health. This is not about politics. And we need to continue to reach people where they are and answer their questions and have trusted messengers at a local level. The good news is, as people see their friends and family and neighbors get vaccinated, more and more people get vaccinated,” Zients remarked.
Over a year after the pandemic’s first outbreak, the United States boasts record low COVID cases and deaths. The CDC recently revised its public-health guidance to state that vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a face covering.