A White House official was unclear Thursday regarding President Joe Biden’s goal of getting a specific number of adults vaccinated by the Fourth of July.
In May, Biden announced that he was setting a goal “for 70% of the U.S. adult population to have one vaccine shot and 160 million U.S. adults to be fully vaccinated by July 4 so that life can start to look closer to normal,” per a White House fact sheet.
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients was asked about the goal during a Thursday press briefing.
“We’ve made tremendous progress. Today more than 175 million Americans have gotten at least one shot … hundreds of thousands of people are continuing to get their first shot each day, and we are going to get to 70 percent, and we’re going to continue across the summer months to push beyond 70 percent,” Zients said, per The Hill.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed the situation Sunday, as well, saying, “Look, at the end of the day, it is — at this point, what the government can do is we can provide the resources, we can incentivize, we can provide the funding, the vaccine supply, and work with states and localities to do everything we can — and in the private sector — to incentivize people to get shots in their arms. It is ultimately up to individuals to do that.”
“What you’ve seen is that a number of states have met and surpassed that goal, right? Many have not yet. But we’ve started — kicked off this one-month campaign to do everything we can to reach it. And we’ll see where we get. We’ve got some time,” she added.
Media outlets have recently reported that the United States might fall short of the administration’s goal. As CNBC reported earlier this week, “The country is not on pace to hit [Biden’s] two main targets outlined in early May…according to a CNBC analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.” Earlier this month, The Associated Press also reported that it was not likely that Biden’s goal would be met.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that as of June 18, per its limited data update — only updating vaccination data in observance of Juneteenth — 65% of the adult population has received one dose of the vaccine and 55.2% of adults are fully vaccinated. It added that 142,531,136 adults are fully vaccinated, both numbers short of Biden’s previously stated goal.
Some members of the media have appeared to cover for Biden, stressing that the “administration insists that even if the goal isn’t reached, it will have little effect on the overall U.S. recovery, which is already ahead of where Biden said it would be months ago,” as reported by the AP.
Even though Biden’s vaccination goals might not be met, the White House is still planning a July 4 celebration to commemorate the nation’s freedom from the virus.