(CNN) — US President Joe Biden on Tuesday set a new goal of administering at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 70% of the country’s adult population and getting 160 million American adults fully vaccinated. for the 4th of July.
“We’re going to make it easier than ever to get vaccinated,” Biden said in his remarks Tuesday.
He added: “In two months… families across the country are going to celebrate the 4th of July. Our goal, by July 4, is for 70% of adult Americans to have at least one vaccine and for at least 160 million Americans to be fully vaccinated. “
So far, about 145 million adults – about 56% of the U.S. adult population – have received at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine, according to the latest data from the Centers for Control and Prevention. of Disease of the USA In the last week an average of 882,000 adults have added to that total every day.
An additional 35 million adults will need to receive at least one dose to reach the new target of 70%. If vaccinations continue at the current rate, 70% of adults will have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the second week of June.
But with July 4 as the cutoff, the current rate of newly vaccinated adults may decline to an average of about 570,000 added to the total each day for the next two months, roughly 65% of the current rate.
The rate of vaccination has slowed since it peaked three weeks ago, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We can mobilize immediately”
To reach the new goal, Biden directed tens of thousands of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program to offer walk-ins and redirect Federal Emergency Management Agency resources to support more emerging clinics, community vaccination sites. Smaller and more mobile clinics, senior administration officials said.
The Biden administration will also send new supplies of COVID-19 vaccines to rural health clinics across the country and provide additional funding to help communities conduct outreach activities to help vaccinate more Americans.
The president announced an effort to get teens vaccinated as soon as possible if the use of the COVID-19 vaccine is authorized in the US for this age group. The FDA is willing to authorize the coronavirus vaccine by Pfizer / BioNTech in children and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 early next week, a federal government official told CNN. The Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine, like Moderna’s, requires a two-injection schedule, while Johnson & Johnson’s only requires one.
Expanding the emergency clearance to people in this age group would open up Covid-19 vaccine eligibility to an additional 5% of the US population.
In case the emergency use authorization is granted, “we will be able to mobilize immediately,” a senior administration official told reporters. The official said that about half of the federal pharmacy program will be ready to vaccinate this age group, and that the vaccines will be ready to be sent to pediatricians and family doctors.
The measures come as the Biden administration rushes as the variants spread across the country that threaten to hinder the nation’s progress in fighting the pandemic.
After spending months focused on increasing the supply and distribution of vaccines, the White House is now working to combat doubts about vaccination. Tuesday’s announcements are the latest efforts to build confidence in the safety and efficacy of the three COVID-19 vaccines licensed for use in the United States.
Biden spoke Tuesday about facilitating access to vaccines, supporting community vaccine education and local outreach efforts, and reaching out to people in rural communities in the administration’s response to COVID-19.
“The rate of vaccinations is slowing now that the majority of American adults have been vaccinated for the first time.
But we continue to vaccinate millions of Americans every day, ”Biden said, adding that in the past 10 days 1 in 10 American adults had been vaccinated.
Earlier on Tuesday, the White House confirmed that, as part of the new phase of the vaccination program, the federal government plans to redistribute the doses of vaccines in case the states do not order all the vaccines assigned to them each week.
States will continue to receive allocations based on their population, but the change means that if a certain state does not request all the doses available to it, the White House will redistribute them and likely give them to a state that has a demand greater than its allocation.
Reaching the underserved and vaccinated vaccinators
The president announced nearly $ 250 million in funding for community organizations to hire and mobilize community outreach workers, community health workers, social support specialists, and others to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines for the elderly. affected by the pandemic.
Biden also announced more than $ 130 million in funding to improve vaccine education and information and to work to reduce health disparities in underserved communities.
Nearly $ 250 million will be immediately awarded to states, territories, and some major city governments to fund the next phase of their vaccine outreach efforts. More than $ 100 million in donations will go to approximately 4,600 rural health clinics across the country to support the dissemination of vaccines in rural communities.
In addition, nearly US $ 860 million in funding will be earmarked to support rural health clinics and rural hospitals in expanding their covid-19 testing and mitigation capacity to stop the spread of the virus.
“We’re going to make it easier than ever to get vaccinated,” Biden said.
One of the things the administration is doing to help convince reluctant Americans to get vaccinated is to encourage incentives “to make getting vaccinated easier and more fun,” Biden said. This will include partnerships with grocery stores, sports leagues, and other businesses.
Biden also pointed to the fact that those who are fully vaccinated are gradually returning to a more normal lifestyle as a reason why those who hesitate to get vaccinated should, in fact, do so.
The president also underscored that the vaccine has been an apolitical science-led effort, giving credit to the Trump administration for approving two covid-19 vaccines in use in the United States and thanking Republicans in Congress for their efforts.
I want to be clear. I’ve been saying this for a long time, but I really think this is not a Democratic or Republican issue. The science behind vaccines has been in development for decades. Two of our vaccines were authorized under previous administrations, Republican administrations, “said Biden during his remarks at the White House. “My administration, a Democratic administration, is doing work to get hundreds of millions of people vaccinated. While we may not always agree on everything, this is something that people from across the political spectrum can agree on.
He continued: “There is a lot of misinformation out there, but there is one fact that I want all Americans to know: People who are not fully vaccinated can continue to die every day from COVID-19.”
“This is their choice: it is life or death, and I hope that everyone knows within themselves and makes the decision that is going to help them and their loved ones to be safe,” said Biden.
The president also said he recognized that it will be difficult to convince all Americans to get vaccinated, but hopes that individuals will be convinced to do so by recognizing the risks of not getting vaccinated.
“We know that we are going to get to a point where there are skeptics or people who are just, I don’t mean lazy, they just aren’t sure how to get where they want to go (to get vaccinated). It’s going to be difficult, ”Biden said. «We will continue at it. And I think that in the end, most people will be convinced by the fact that their lack of vaccination can make other people sick and perhaps die.
– CNN’s Jason Hoffman, Deidre McPhillips and Michael Nedelman contributed to this report.