For months, President Joe Biden has set goal after goal to tame the coronavirus pandemic and then surpassed his own benchmarks. Now, however, the United States is about to achieve its goal of vaccinating 70% of Americans at least partially on July 4th.
The White House has launched a month-long bombardment to combat it hesitation and the lack of urgency to receive shots, especially in the south and midwest, but is increasingly resigned to losing the president’s vaccination goal. The administration insists that even if the goal is not met, it will have little effect on the overall recovery in the United States, which is already ahead of where Biden said it would be months ago.
About 16 million unvaccinated adults must receive at least one dose in the next four weeks for Biden to reach his goal. But the pace of new vaccinations in the U.S. has dropped to about 400,000 people a day, from a high of nearly 2 million a day two months ago.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told reporters Tuesday in a briefing that he still hopes the goal will be met “and if we don’t, we will continue to push.”
So far, 14 states have achieved 70% adult coverage, with about a dozen more paced to reach the milestone before July 4th. But the variation from state to state is severe.
Fauci said the administration is “begging” states, particularly those with low vaccination rates, to step up their efforts in the coming months, though some of the states that follow do not share the urgency.
In Mississippi, which tracks the nation with just 34 percent of its population vaccinated, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has described Biden’s goal as “arbitrary, to say the least.”
The vaccination rate in the state has dropped so sharply that it would take most of a year to reach the 70% target.
Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Reeves said he encouraged residents to get vaccinated, but that the most important marker was the decrease in cases in the state.
This feeling makes winning people like the University of Mississippi student Mary Crane even more important for Biden to accomplish his goal. He did not have much urgency to get the COVID-19 vaccine because he has already had the virus and the family he lives with during the summer holidays has been vaccinated.
“Initially, it was to wait for everyone else to get it and not get a vaccine,” he said, explaining why he has not been vaccinated. “But now that it’s available, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t have it, other than that you don’t have it.”
Crane, 20, said he saw classmates wanting to get the vaccine right away; there was a trend when the vaccine first came out of posting vaccination cards on social media like Instagram. But now that the vaccine has been available for a few months, Crane said he sees less of it young people talking about it.
“Now everything is back to pretty much normal,” he said.
Fauci stressed on Tuesday that increasing vaccination was key to eliminating potentially dangerous variants, including the so-called “Delta variant” first identified in India, which is now the dominant strain in the UK and growing in the US. Vaccines have been shown to be less effective against this variant when people are not fully immunized and tests indicate that it is more transmissible and more deadly.
In an attempt to increase the vaccination rate, the White House has worked to encourage a number of incentives for people to receive shots, from paid free time to the possibility of earning a million dollars. It has partnered with community groups, businesses, and health care providers to make it easier than ever to get a chance. These efforts have helped keep some of the interest, but trends point to Biden losing the target by several percentage points.
In Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine created a lottery that offered $ 1 million in prizes for vaccinated adults and full college scholarships for children. The Ohio Lottery started a wave of similar incentive lotteries nationwide.
DeWine’s May 12 announcement of the state-run Vax-a-Million program had the desired effect, causing a 43% increase in state vaccination figures over the previous week. But the impact was short-lived, with vaccines falling again the following week.
For some, the chance of earning a million dollars is not enough to overcome skepticism about the need for the vaccine.
Joanna Lawrence, of Bethel, southwest Ohio, says the survival rate of COVID-19 is so high and that the experiences of people she knows who got the vaccine are so bad that she doesn’t see the need for it. of risking a shot. He got his own coronavirus attack in August.
“My life is not worth money,” said Lawrence, 51, who cultivates and works in commercial real estate. “I can always get more money if I need to. I can’t get another life.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to make a prediction about whether the goal would be met, but said the administration was using “all the tools at our disposal to get there.”
“Regardless of where we are on July 4, we will not close the store,” he said. “On July 5, we will continue to push to vaccinate more people across the country.”
Husband and wife Keila Moore, 41, and Willie Moore, 42, of Pearl, Mississippi, have not agreed on whether they want to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Willie said he knew he wanted to get it because he has high blood pressure and other pre-existing conditions and is a front-line worker.
“As soon as I had a chance to get it, I took it,” said Willie, who was vaccinated in February.
But Keila, who has no pre-existing conditions and works from home, has so far opted not to get vaccinated.
After vaccinating her husband, she tested positive for the virus. He said it was a mild case, but that it was still a terrifying experience. He said he feels more open to getting the vaccine and is thinking about getting it this fall, if reports of side effects remain minimal.
“I’m still weighing the options and the deadline,” he said. “I have a little more confidence in it as time goes on because time goes by and I really don’t see any side effects too worrying.”
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