United States President Joe Biden is setting a new COVID-19 vaccination target to deliver at least one dose to 70 percent of adult Americans by July 4, the White House said Tuesday as the administration pushes to make it easier for people get hits and to bring the country closer to normal.
The new target, which also includes the full vaccination of 160 million adults by Independence Day, comes as vaccine demand has dropped dramatically nationwide, with some states leaving more than half of their vaccine doses unordered. .
He also said he’s in discussions with business and sports organizations to provide incentives for people to get their shots.
“Discounts on merchandise and other creative ways to make getting vaccinated easier and more fun,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s fun, but they’ll have other things on hand than just being protected from the virus.”
Biden’s goal is a tacit acknowledgment of the waning interest in shots. Already more than 56 percent of adult Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 105 million are fully vaccinated. The United States is currently administering the first doses at a rate of about 965,000 per day, half as fast as it was three weeks ago, but nearly double the rate needed to reach Biden’s goal.
WATCH | Biden says offering incentives could help encourage vaccination:
Senior administration officials previewed the announcement Tuesday ahead of Biden’s scheduled speech from the White House. It comes as the Biden administration has moved away from setting a goal for the United States to achieve “herd immunity,” instead focusing on delivering as many shots as possible. Officials said Biden’s vaccination target would result in a significant reduction in COVID-19 cases arriving this summer.
To that end, the Biden administration is shifting the government’s focus to expanding smaller, more mobile vaccination clinics to deliver doses to hard-to-reach communities. It is also spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to increase interest in vaccines through educational campaigns and access to vaccines through community organizations that can help bring people to clinics.
Ahead of the Food and Drug Administration’s planned authorization of Pfizer vaccine for teenagers aged 12 to 15 by early next week, the White House is also developing plans to expedite vaccinations for that age group. age. According to the White House, Biden “challenged” states to administer at least one dose to that age group by July 4 and worked to deliver the doses to pediatrician offices and other trusted venues, with the aim of getting vaccinate as many of them. by the beginning of the next school year.
Although young people have a significantly lower risk of serious complications from COVID-19, they have made up a larger share of new cases of the virus as most U.S. adults have been at least partially vaccinated and as high-risk activities such as indoor dining and Contact sports are resumed in most of the country. Officials hope extending vaccinations to teenagers will further accelerate the reduced number of virus cases in the nation and allow schools to reopen with minimal disruption this fall.
Biden’s speech comes when the White House announced a move away from a strict allotment of vaccines by the population. The administration says when states decline the vaccine that has been assigned to it, the surplus will shift to states still awaiting doses to meet demand. Those states would have shots available whenever demand for vaccines in their states increases – a key priority of the Biden administration.
Governors were notified of the change by the White House on Tuesday morning. The Washington Post first reported on the new assignment.
This week, Iowa turned down nearly three-quarters of the vaccine doses available to the state for next week from the federal government because demand for the shots remains weak.
The White House previously opposed efforts to shift the vaccine by parameters other than population, with Biden rejecting the Michigan government. Gretchen Whitmer last month when she requested more doses as her state was experiencing a wave of virus cases. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said nearly all states were ordering at or near their population allocations at the time, which is no longer the case.
Individual states have made similar changes internally to account for the change in demand. Last week, Washington state changed the way it assigns the coronavirus vaccine to its counties. Previously, the state distributed supplies to counties in proportion to their population. Goal Gov. Jay Inslee said on Thursday that the amounts will now be based on requests from healthcare professionals.