The White House conceded Tuesday that the United States will miss President Biden’s original goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adults with at least one shot by July 4.
The administration will replace the original timeline with a new goal to inoculate 70 percent of adults age 27 and up with at least one dose through the July 4 holiday weekend, the Washington Post first reported.
The White House confirmed Tuesday what has been apparent for weeks as vaccine supply has outpaced demand and the vaccination rate has stagnated.
Despite ramping up funding for media and public relations campaigns to combat vaccine hesitancy and government distrust, a significant portion of the population remains unwilling to receive the injection. Many states, such as West Virginia, launched lottery programs to incentivize those who have abstained so far to get the shot.
During a White House COVID briefing Tuesday, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients announced that 70% of those ages 30 & older have received at least one COVID shot, a metric that excludes young adults.
“We are close to achieving two aspirational goals,” Zients added. However, he noted that the country still has room for improvement in vaccinating more in the young adult category of ages 18-26.
Vaccination levels have flattened since peaking in mid-April, when over 3 million shots were being administered daily, according to the seven-day rolling average. In the past week, only 1.1 million shots a day have been administered.
The Biden administration has attempted to distract from its shortfall, instead turning public and media attention to the regional lags contributing to it in rural areas and Republican dominated states. The states with the lowest vaccination rates are located in the deep South and West. For instance, only 28.87 percent of residents in Mississippi are vaccinated and only 33.58 percent of residents in Wyoming are vaccinated. The highest vaccination rate states are concentrated predominantly in the Northeast along the Eastern seaboard and on the west coast.
Researchers have projected that around 70 percent to 85 percent of the country must be immune to the disease to stop its continued spread and facilitate its eventual waning.