White House to concede it’s likely to miss original July 4 vaccination target

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration planned to concede Tuesday that it will likely fall short of President Joe Biden’s goal of partially vaccinating 70 percent of American adults by Independence Day, but insist it has “succeeded beyond our highest expectations” in returning the nation to a pre-pandemic normal.

Jeffrey Zients, the head of the White House Covid-19 response team, was slated to announce that the administration has hit its 70 percent vaccination target among Americans ages 30 and older, and is poised to reach that threshold for those 27 and older by the Fourth of July.

But it will take “a few extra weeks” to include all Americans 18 and older to that group, he is to acknowledge.

“The reality is, many younger Americans have felt like Covid-19 is not something that impacts them and has been less eager to get the shot,” he plans to say, according to advance remarks obtained by NBC News.

But Zients and other administration officials say it is undeniable that Americans will be celebrating the Fourth of July holiday in a way that few could have predicted was possible when Biden took office five months ago.

“We always intended July 4 as a moment to take stock and celebrate the progress we’ve made. But by no means was it an endpoint,” a senior administration official said. “What really matters is what the country feels like and what Americans are safely able to do. Restaurants and schools have been able to reopen. There will be celebrations that are very different than what we talked about even a few weeks ago.”

Biden set two public goals May 4: seeing 70 percent of American adults receive at least one dose of the vaccination in two months and seeing 160 million Americans fully vaccinated by then. Zients also plans to acknowledge the United States won’t reach that second goal until “no later than mid July.”

When the president set those targets, he called it a “huge goal.”

Read the full story on NBC News

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