How the Biden Administration Is Spinning Its Failure to Reach July 4 Vaccination Goal

Posted: Jun 22, 2021 3:00 PM
How the Biden Administration Is Spinning Its Failure to Reach July 4 Vaccination Goal

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The White House acknowledged Tuesday that it will likely miss President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of the adult population in the U.S. at least partially vaccinated by July 4. According to The New York Times, about 67 percent of adults will have been partially vaccinated by that time.

Still, Jeff Zients, the head of the White House Covid-19 response team, touted the administration’s “remarkable achievement.”

“We have built an unparalleled, first of its kind nationwide vaccination program,” he said at a news briefing. 

As Spencer pointed out, however, the administration sought to move the goalposts during the briefing by highlighting that it did meet Biden's goal when the age was adjusted to omit younger adults. 

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients instead highlighted other vaccination milestones that were not previously public targets. Seventy-percent of adults ages 30 and older already have had at least one shot, the White House announced, and by July Fourth, the U.S. will have vaccinated 70% of Americans 27 and older with one shot.

"We want every American in every community to be protected and free from fear of the virus. That's why we’ll keep working to vaccinate more Americans across the summer and into the fall ... we are not stopping at 70% and we're not stopping on July Fourth," Zients said at Tuesday's White House COVID response briefing.

Asked later by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega what went wrong and why the White House wasn't able to reach the goal that it set, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the country has already met the goal of 70% of partially vaccinated adults among those 30-years-and-older, but that it's been harder to vaccinate communities of color, conservative communities and younger populations.

"We don't see it exactly like something went wrong, how we see it is we set a bold, ambitious goal -- something the president has done from the very beginning -- and we are expected to meet that goal. Just a couple of weeks after July 4, and in fact, at this point, as of today, we're going to be already at that point for people who are 30 years of age and older," she said. (GMA)

Those between the ages of 18-26 have been most difficult to convince to get inoculated and  “a few extra weeks” will be needed to reach the goal, according to the White House.

“The reality is, many younger Americans have felt like Covid-19 is not something that impacts them and have been less eager to get the shot,” Zients said. 

He warned that if more Americans don’t get the jab, a Covid-19 surge will likely hit in the winter.

“I think, come winter, we are going to again see a surge,” he said. “And that surge is going to occur exactly where you would expect it to occur — in areas that are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated.”