President Joe Biden has announced the goal of vaccinating 70% of U.S. adults with at least one shot of COVID-19 and 160 million adults fully vaccinated during the July 4 independence day holidays.
He also said Tuesday that the United States will have shipped 10 percent of its AstraZeneca vaccine doses to other countries, including Canada, Mexico and another unnamed nation he speaks to, on July 4th.
The president, who has made the fight against coronavirus a key priority in his administration, previously announced on July 4th as a goal for when Americans can gather in small groups to indicate a return to some normalcy in the midst of the pandemic.
Biden began his speech by stating the successes of his administration: “More than 105 million Americans are completely vaccinated … 70% of the elderly are completely vaccinated. It is a dramatic change from where we were in January, when less than 2 percent of adults and less than 1 percent of the elderly were completely vaccinated.
The president noted that “many adults have not been vaccinated because they found it too confusing or too difficult or too uncomfortable to get shot.” The administration created a website, vaccine.gov, to help those struggling to find a vaccination site.
Biden also said there will soon be vaccines in the “vast majority of our 40,000 pharmacies across the country” and the government encourages “state and local partners” to do the same.
New COVID-19 cases fall, although vaccine administration is declining.
Biden’s new goal comes when the administration faces growing, though not unexpected, challenges of vaccinating people who doubt the vaccine, in part because of blood clots resulting from the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine.
Vaccines are less likely to cause blood clots than the coronavirus itself, according to a study.
The new goal takes this reality into account.
U.S. officials are preparing to administer vaccines to teens once approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
More than half of the U.S. adult population has taken a dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The United States currently administers the first doses at a rate of about 965,000 a day, half the rate of three weeks ago, but almost double that needed to reach the Biden goal.
Help other nations
Biden told White House reporters Tuesday that he expects 10 percent of the U.S. AstraZeneca vaccine reserve will be distributed to other nations this summer.
“We will ship on July 4 about 10 percent of what we have to other nations,” Biden said, including Canada and Mexico, and, “other countries we’re talking to.” He said he spoke with a “head of state today” about receiving vaccines, but was not prepared to discuss which head of state he spoke to.
The United States has contracted 300 million doses with AstraZeneca, although it is unclear how many of these doses will be in the possession of the U.S. government before July 4th. distribution in the coming months.
The Biden administration is also working to give Brazil access to $ 20 million worth of drugs used to intubate COVID-19 patients, the White House said Tuesday.
The drugs will come from the U.S. government’s strategic stock and will be delivered in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“It’s not over yet, but we’re working on it in collaboration with the Brazilian government,” he said.