Biden’s new COVID-19 goal: 70% vaccinated by July 4

In an update today, President Joe Biden said his administration would make it even easier for all Americans over the age of 16 to get vaccinated.

“Our new goal by July 4th, 2 months from today, is 70% of Americans with at least one dose,” said Biden. “No one should wait. Let’s try to hit that 70% mark; it’s another huge goal.”

In order to achieve that goal and boost lagging vaccination rates, the president said the federal government is going to offer thousands of walk-in appointments for coronavirus vaccine shots at pharmacies and mobile clinics, many targeted to rural areas. Biden also encouraged employers to offer incentives to employees who choose to get vaccinated.

“We want 160 million adults to be fully vaccinated by Independence Day,” Biden said. Currently 105 million Americans are fully vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) COVID Data Tracker shows 312,509,575 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 246,780,203 have been administered, with 105,523,520 Americans fully vaccinated.

The United States is reporting first-dose vaccine shots at less than half the pace of just a few weeks ago, according to a USA Today analysis of CDC data. The US administered 6.54 million first doses in the week ending Monday, compared with 14 million reported in the week ending April 13.

Vaccine may soon be option for younger kids

By next week, Pfizer expect its COVID-19 mRNA vaccine will be approved for emergency use among children ages 12 to 15, and company heads told investors they expect to extend the age range to as low as 2 years by September.

Right now, Pfizer has emergency use authorization (EUA) for those ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the two others authorized for use in the United States, are only authorized for those over the age of 18.

Adolescents are key to limiting spread of the virus, a number of health experts have said, as they can transmit the virus efficiently in school and social settings.

The new approvals targeting teens and young adults could also help limit the impact of the current wave of infections: Doctors across the country are now seeing clear demographic shifts in COVID-19 patients, with young and middle-aged adults making up a growing share of patients in COVID-19 hospital wards, according to Kaiser Health News. Nationally, adults under 50 now account for 36% of all COVID-19 hospital admissions.

Other US developments

  • Most capacity limits on businesses in New York and New Jersey will end on May 19, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Indoor mask mandates will remain, and businesses will still need to keep patrons and parties 6 feet apart.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy yesterday announced a “Shot and a Beer” program that provides a free glass of beer at participating locations to anyone over 21 who gets their first vaccine dose this month, ABC News reports
  • The United States reported 50,058 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 751 deaths, according to the New York Times case tracker. In total, the nation has 32,499,987 confirmed cases, including 578,208 deaths.

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