White House Says It Will Narrowly Miss July 4 Vaccination Goal

People ages 18 to 26 have been slow to get their shots, aides to President Biden said, ruling out the possibility of getting 70 percent of adults at least partly vaccinated by Independence Day.

By Sharon LaFraniere

WASHINGTON — The White House publicly acknowledged on Tuesday that President Biden did not expect to meet his goal of having 70 percent of adults at least partly vaccinated by July 4 and instead would reach that milestone only with people older than 26.

It would be the first time that Mr. Biden has failed to meet a vaccination goal he has set. If the rate of adult vaccinations continues on the current seven-day average, the country will come in just shy of his target, with about 67 percent of adults having at least one shot by July 4, according to a New York Times analysis.

White House officials have argued that falling short by a few percentage points is not significant, given all the progress the nation has made against Covid-19. “We have built an unparalleled, first-of-its-kind, nationwide vaccination program,” Jeffrey D. Zients, the administration’s pandemic response coordinator, said during a White House briefing. “This is a remarkable achievement.”

But health experts warn that the slowing vaccination rate could mean renewed coronavirus outbreaks this winter when cold weather drives people indoors, with high daily death rates in areas in which comparatively few people have protected themselves with shots.

“I give credit to the Biden administration for putting in place a mass vaccination program for adults that did not exist,” said Dr. Paul A. Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “But now we’ve hit a wall.”

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