The White House on Tuesday conceded that the US won’t reach President Biden’s goal of getting 70 percent of American adults to receive at least one COVID-19 shot by the Fourth of July.
Jeff Zients, who is Biden’s COVID-19 response coordinator, blamed not being on track to hit the July 4 target on the lagging vaccination rates among adults who are ages 18 to 26 years old, saying the administration has “more work to do” with the demographic.
“We think it’ll take a few extra weeks to get to 70 percent of all adults with at least one shot with the 18- to 26-year-olds factored in,” Zients said at a press briefing.
Zients, however, insisted that the vaccination campaign “succeeded beyond our highest expectations.”
“We set 70 percent of adults as our aspirational target. And we have met or exceeded it for most of the adult population,” he said.
Currently, at least 70 percent of adults ages 30 and older have received at least one vaccine shot, and the country is on track to hit the same target for those 27 and older by July 4, according to Zients.
“This is amazing progress and has our country returning to normal much sooner than anyone could have predicted,” Zients said.
Zients said it would be up to Biden to decide whether to set future vaccination goals.
“He’s our goal setter, and he’s done a great job at setting aspirational and ambitious goals that have really driven our success,” he said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said that the push would continue to get shots in Americans’ arms even after the country reaches the 70 percent threshold.
“Now regardless, even if we sailed past — even if we do sail past the 70 percent goal, we’re still going to be vaccinating people on July 5, on July 7, on July 10. That is still going to be continued to be part of our objective,” Psaki said.