Plunging vaccination rates are threatening President Joe Biden’s goal to have 70 percent of American adults receive their first COVID-19 shot by Independence Day.
Less than 500,000 adults are now being vaccinated each day – down from a peak of 3.4 million in April, The Washington Post reports.
Currently, 51.5 percent of Americans – or 170. 8 million people – have received their first COVID-19 vaccine. 63.5 percent of adults have had at least one jab.
In order to reach the 70 percent goal by July 4, 16 million more citizens above the age of 18 would need to have their first shot in the next 28 days.
According to The Washington Post, that is now going to be an extremely hard task, with officials missing preliminary targets by almost two million doses last week.
‘Only 2.4 million adults getting their first shot last week, and officials must get a first dose to 4.2 million adults per week to meet Biden’s goal,’ the paper reported.
And while the ‘slowdown is national, with every state down at least two-thirds from its peak’, those in the south are dragging down the overall numbers.
Alabama, for instance, has only had 36.2 percent of its adult residents receive their first dose of the vaccine, and last week the state had ‘just four people per 10,000 residents get vaccinated’.
Plunging vaccination rates are threatening President Joe Biden ‘s goal to have 70 percent of American adults receive their first COVID-19 shot by Independence Day
Most states on the east and west coasts, however, are surging ahead of expectations.
Thirteen states, including Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, have already vaccinated 70 percent of adults.
Several others, including New York, California and Oregon, have already had close to 60 percent of adults receive their first vaccine dose and will likely reach Biden’s target.
To get 16 million more Americans to roll up their sleeves, the President has announced incentives including free Anheuser-Busch beer for 200,000 people and even a visit to the White House.
Additionally, pharmacies that have teamed up with the White House will be open for 24 hours on certain days and centers will be offering free childcare for parents
Late last week, TODAY host Savannah Guthrie asked CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky if the current pace of vaccinations is enough to hit the president’s target or if a push is need to increase the daily numbers.
She appeared to side-step the question, saying that she anticipates the incentives will ‘meet [people] where they are’ by providing people with more information and access to shots.
To get 16 million more Americans to roll up their sleeves, Biden announced incentives including free Anheuser-Busch beer for 200,000 people and even a visit to the White House
CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky could not answer questions Thursday about how the US would meet this threshold, instead replying that ‘every shot in the arm is a win’
‘I think that any singular day’s counts of how many vaccines we’re doing is not necessarily reflective. We’ve launched this push now. We anticipate we’ll be able to reach more and more people,’ she answered.
‘Every shot in every arm is a win because that person is now safe and protected from getting COVID-19.’
Guthrie also asked if the 70 percent benchmark is a goal for political purposes or if there is a public health threshold.
‘We know that the more and more people that get one vaccine and then two – get fully vaccinated – the more we as a nation are protected,’ Walensky said.
‘We know that the vaccine not only protects individuals, it protects communities, it protects their families. And so the more people who get vaccines…there is no magic target for herd immunity.
Despite fears around the vaccine race, COVID deaths and infections continue to decline.
On Sunday, the US reported 376 new COVID deaths, down from the 7-day rolling average of 437.
Meanwhile, 13,908 new infections were reported across the country. That is also down on the 7-day rolling average of 14, 592.
In total, 597,628 Americans have died from COVID-19, while more than 33.3 million have been infected.