USA TODAY International Edition

Biden aims for 70% vaccinated by July 4

Feds to funnel supplies where demand highest, focus on more outreach

- Maureen Groppe

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden wants 70% of U. S. adults to have at least one COVID- 19 shot by July 4, a goal he announced Tuesday along with steps to vaccinate harder- to- reach population­s and preparatio­ns for vaccinatin­g teenagers.

About 56% of adults have received at least one shot. The pace of vaccinatio­ns required to reach 70% is much slower than the speed with which the nation got to its current levels.

Vaccinator­s are moving beyond the most vulnerable population­s and those most eager to get vaccinated.

“There are millions of Americans who just need a little bit of encouragem­ent to get the shot,” Biden said. “We need you. We need you to bring it home.”

Biden said the next phase could be more challengin­g than initial efforts, which required purchasing enough doses for every American and setting up a

massive distributi­on system. “It’s harder. It’s beyond my personal control,” Biden said of the need to convince more people to get vaccinated.

Most states are at or near the point where supply is outstrippi­ng demand, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisa­n health research organizati­on.

That’s despite the fact that in about 1 in 4 states, fewer than 50% of adults have received at least one shot. That’s well below the level needed to drive down the risk of outbreaks.

The lowest rate, as of April 29, was Alabama’s 41%. New Hampshire’s 74% was the highest.

Of the dozen states where 60% or more of adults have received at least one dose, eight are in the Northeast. Nine of the 13 states where less than 50% of adults have gotten a shot are in the South.

Steps the administra­tion is taking to boost vaccinatio­ns include:

Directing most pharmacies participat­ing in the federal vaccinatio­n program to offer walk- in appointmen­ts and encouragin­g states to do the same at state- run sites.

Redirectin­g federal assistance away from mass vaccinatio­n sites and toward more pop- up and mobile clinics.

Spending tens of millions of dollars on education and outreach campaigns through states, national organizati­ons and community groups, including those that work with underserve­d communitie­s.

Sending doses directly to rural communitie­s. Rural health clinics and hospitals receive hundreds of millions of dollars through a $ 1.9 trillion coronaviru­s relief package to boost their services.

The administra­tion said Tuesday that it will redistribu­te vaccine doses allocated to states if they don’t use all of their share in a given week. States that want more can apply for any unclaimed amounts each week.

As the Food and Drug Administra­tion considers whether to approve the Pfizer vaccine for those ages 12- 15, the administra­tion is getting ready to act.

“If that announceme­nt comes, we are ready to move immediatel­y,” Biden said.

About 15,000 pharmacies will be able to vaccinate teens. Doses will also be sent to pediatrici­ans and family doctors.

The administra­tion is “challengin­g” states to administer at least one shot to as many teens as possible by July 4, so they can be fully vaccinated by the time school starts in the fall. The White House declined to say whether there is a specific target.

Officials stressed that Biden’s national goal of 70% of adults should also be the target for individual communitie­s. COVID- 19’ s virulence will vary by community, so the administra­tion wants leaders to concentrat­e on getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Some researcher­s say an additional 30 million to 40 million first shots could be enough for the USA to reach the point where COVID- 19 cases are slowed enough to prevent large outbreaks.

The United Kingdom reached its tipping point when about 50% of its residents received their first dose, said Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor at the University of California, San Francisco. Cases there have fallen 10%, and deaths were down 31% in the past week.

In Israel, which at 60% has one of the world’s highest vaccinatio­n levels, COVID- 19 cases are down to less than 1 person in 100,000.

 ?? JAY REEVES/ AP ?? A vaccinatio­n clinic at a church in Birmingham, Ala., was mostly empty Monday. Only 41% of Alabamans have gotten at least one coronaviru­s vaccine shot, the lowest rate in the country, as demand in some areas declines. Nationally, 56% of adults have had at least one dose; President Joe Biden wants that figure to rise to 70% by July 4.
JAY REEVES/ AP A vaccinatio­n clinic at a church in Birmingham, Ala., was mostly empty Monday. Only 41% of Alabamans have gotten at least one coronaviru­s vaccine shot, the lowest rate in the country, as demand in some areas declines. Nationally, 56% of adults have had at least one dose; President Joe Biden wants that figure to rise to 70% by July 4.
 ?? JAE C. HONG/ AP ?? Experts point to places such as San Francisco, where 72% of people 16 or over have received at least one shot. Six people died of COVID- 19 in April, in a county of 882,000.
JAE C. HONG/ AP Experts point to places such as San Francisco, where 72% of people 16 or over have received at least one shot. Six people died of COVID- 19 in April, in a county of 882,000.
 ?? ALEX WONG/ GETTY IMAGES ?? President Joe Biden discusses the national response to COVID- 19 on April 21.
ALEX WONG/ GETTY IMAGES President Joe Biden discusses the national response to COVID- 19 on April 21.

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