President Joe Biden will announce a goal on Tuesday to have 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 shot and 160 million adults fully vaccinated by the July 4 Independence Day holiday, administration officials said.
The president, who has made fighting the coronavirus a key priority of his administration, has previously announced that date as a goal for when Americans can gather in small groups to signal a return to some normalcy in the midst of the pandemic.
"If we make progress towards this goal, more and more Americans will gain protection from COVID-19 ... and America will have taken a serious step toward a return to normal," one official told reporters on a conference call.
Biden's new goal comes as the administration faces increasing, though not unexpected, challenges of getting people vaccinated who are hesitant about the vaccine. The new target takes that reality into account.
The official noted that at this time 105 million Americans are fully vaccinated and more than 56% of U.S. adults or 147 million people have received at least one shot. (Graphic on global vaccines) https://tmsnrt.rs/3tUM8ta
The president's new goal would result in roughly half of the entire U.S. population being vaccinated by early July.
U.S. officials are gearing up to administer vaccines to adolescents once that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Meanwhile, to meet the president's target, the government will work to make the vaccine even more accessible by directing thousands of pharmacies to allow walk-in appointments and using the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) "to support more pop-up clinics," the White House said in a statement.
Biden is set to speak about the issue around 2:30 p.m. ET (1830 GMT).
More than half of the U.S. adult population has taken one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.