U.S. Hits 70 Percent Vaccination Goal, Four Weeks Late
The United States finally met President Biden’s goal on Monday of having at least part of 70% of eligible adults immunized.
The milestone came a month later than the president had hoped for as the country faced the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
There was no celebration at the White House. The announcement today was made on Twitter by Cyrus Shahpar, the COVID-19 data director for the Biden administration. “Let’s continue to work to vaccinate more eligible people! Mr. Shahpar wrote.
The White House had hoped to announce the 70 percent vaccination threshold four weeks ago. Mr Biden initially used Independence Day to declare some sort of victory over the pandemic and some sort of return to normal life.
But that goal has evaporated in recent weeks as the Delta variant quickly spread, putting pressure on hospitals in areas with low vaccination rates, including many politically conservative areas in the south. Southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, for example, were hit hard, flooding hospitals.
In recent weeks, the vaccination rate has increased in some states where cases have peaked. Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, and Florida have seen steady increases.
The Delta variant is much more contagious than other forms of the virus and can cause more serious illness, according to an internal presentation released recently to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts say infections in those vaccinated are still relatively rare, and even then, vaccines currently licensed in the United States appear to offer protection against serious illness and death.
Federal health officials last week released new guidelines urging fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors, as groundbreaking cases of the Delta variant may be able to transmit the virus.
After missing the self-imposed July 4 deadline, Mr Biden initially sought to shift some of the blame to social media platforms like Facebook, claiming they were ‘killing people’ by allowing disinformation on the coronavirus vaccine to spread. He later returned to these comments.
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