For months, President Joe Biden has set goal after goal to control the coronavirus pandemic, then surpassed his own milestones. Now however, It is unlikely for the United States to meet its goal of 70% of Americans being at least partially vaccinated, for the 4th of July.
The White House launched a month-long campaign to fight doubts on vaccination and the lack of urgency to get vaccinated, especially in the South and Midwest, but he is increasingly resigned to not reaching the president’s vaccination goal.
The administration insists that even if the target is not met, it will have little effect on the overall US recovery, which is already ahead from where Biden said he would be months ago.
The goal of 70% of Americans being at least partially vaccinated by July 4 is unlikely to be met. Photo: AFP
Some 15.5 million adults Unvaccinated must receive at least one dose in the next four weeks for Biden to meet his goal. But the rate of new vaccinations in the US has fallen below 400,000 people a day, up from a peak of nearly 2 million a day two months ago.
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told reporters at a briefing that still waiting for the goal to be met “And if we don’t, we are going to keep pushing.”
Until now, 14 states have reached 70% coverage among adults, and a dozen more are close to meeting the July 4 target, but the variation between states is stark.
Fauci said that the administration is “pleading” to the states, particularly those with low vaccination rates, to step up their efforts in the coming months, although some of the states furthest behind do not share the urgency.
So far, 14 states have reached 70% coverage among adults. Photo: archive
In a conference call Tuesday, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients made a strong call on governors to join the administration and “do everything possible” to vaccinate this month. “We need your leadership on the ground more than ever, which is where it matters most,” he said.
Mississippi, to the tail
In Mississippi, which is at the bottom of the country with only 34% of its population vaccinated, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves called Biden’s goal a “arbitrary, to say the least. “
The vaccination rate in the state dropped so sharply that it would take nearly a year for the state 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.
Vaccination in Mississippi. The state is tailgating the immunization campaign. Photo: AP
That sentiment makes winning over people like University of Mississippi student Mary Crane even more important to Biden’s accomplishment.
Crane you don’t feel much of an urge to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because he already had the virus, and the family with whom he lives during the summer holidays is vaccinated.
“At first, it was waiting for others to get vaccinated and not doing it,” he said, explaining why he didn’t get vaccinated. “But now that it’s available, there’s really no reason why I just didn’t get vaccinated. I did not do it“.
Crane, 20, said he saw that his classmates were eager to get vaccinated 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 that see less young people talking of the vaccine.
“Everything is more or less back to normal,” he said.
Variations: the importance of getting vaccinated
On Tuesday, Fauci stressed that increased vaccination is essential to end the variants potentially dangerous, including the so-called “Delta variant”, first identified in India, which is now the dominant strain in the UK and is increasing in the US.
Vaccines proved to be less effective against this variant when people are not fully immunized, and the evidence suggests that it is more transmissible and more deadly.
Fauci stressed that increased vaccination is essential to end potentially dangerous variants. Photos: AFP
In an attempt to increase the vaccination rate, the White House is working to foster a number of incentives for people to get vaccinated, from paid time off to the possibility of earning a million dollars.
He partnered with community groups, businesses, and healthcare providers to make getting vaccinated easier than ever. These efforts have contributed to keep part of the interest, but trends point to Biden losing the target for various points percentage.
In Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine created a lottery that offered million-dollar prizes for vaccinated adults and full college scholarships for children. The Ohio lottery started a wave of similar incentive lotteries nationwide.
DeWine’s announcement about the state Vax-a-Million program on May 12 had the desired effect, and led to a 43% increase in the state’s vaccination numbers from the previous week. But the impact it was ephemeral, since vaccinations fell again the following week.
For some, the possibility of winning a million dollars is not enough to overcome skepticism about the need for the vaccine.
Vaccination Center at the Natural History Museum in New York. Photo: AFP
Joanna Lawrence of Bethel in southwestern Ohio says the survival rate from COVID-19 is so high, and the experiences of people she knows who got vaccinated they are so bad, who does not see the need to risk receiving the vaccine. She herself overcame her own coronavirus outbreak in August.
“My life is not worth money,” said Lawrence, 51, who works in agriculture and real estate. “I can always get more money if I need it. I can’t get another life“.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to make a prediction on whether the goal will be met, but said the administration is using “every tool at our disposal to get there.”
“Regardless of where we are on July 4, we are not going to lower our arms,” he said. “July 5th let’s keep pressing to vaccinate more people across the country. “
Biden is missing the target by several percentage points. Photo: AFP
Keila Moore, 41, and Willie Moore, 42, of Pearl, Mississippi, They did not agree on whether they should get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Willie said he wanted to have it because he has high blood pressure and other pre-existing conditions, and he is a front-line worker.
“As soon as I had the opportunity to get vaccinated, I did it“said Willie, who was vaccinated in February.
But Keila, who has no pre-existing illnesses and works from home, until now chose not to get vaccinated.
After her husband was vaccinated, Keila tested positive in the virus test. He said it was a mild case, but it was still a terrifying experience. She said she feels more open to getting the vaccine, and is considering doing so this fall, if reports of side effects remain minimal.
“I’m still evaluating the options and the timing,” he said. “Now I have a little more confidence in the vaccine, as time goes by, because time goes by and I’m not really seeing any side effects that are too concerning. “
Zeke Miller and Leah Willingham, Associated Press