The White House was expected to admit on Tuesday it will miss an ambitious Covid-19 vaccination goal: administering at least one jab to 70% of US adults by the Independence Day holiday.
Jeff Zients, the coronavirus response coordinator, was expected to announce that it will take “a few extra weeks” to reach that target, in part because many young people are not getting vaccinated, according to advance remarks reported by NBC News.
“The reality is, many younger Americans have felt like Covid-19 is not something that impacts them and have been less eager to get the shot,” Zients said.
“With the Delta variant now spreading across the country and infecting younger people worldwide, it is more important than ever that they take this important step.”
Almost two-thirds of US adults have had at least one dose and about 56% are fully vaccinated, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Seventy percent of Americans aged 30 or older have had at least one shot and the White House expects the same for those 27 or older by 4 July, according to NBC.
After Joe Biden took office, the administration easily passed an initial goal of 100m vaccinations in its first 100 days. Covid-19 vaccines have been available to the public for months. Nationally, new infections have plummeted.
“We have built an unparalleled, first-of-its-kind, nationwide vaccination program,” Zients said. “And as a result, we have successfully executed the most complex, logistical task in history – administering 300m shots in 150 days.”
But vaccine hesitancy among key demographics has dogged the rollout, as misinformation about vaccine safety has convinced some Americans to avoid the potentially life-saving shot.
Daily vaccination rates have dropped from a high of more than 4.6m in April to about 500,000 in early June, NBC News reported. Even million-dollar lotteries have failed to sustainably drum up enthusiasm, leaving some pockets of the country vulnerable as society reopens.