US won't meet its COVID vaccine goal by July 4

White House COVID coordinator concedes government won't meet its goal of administering vaccines to 70 percent of adults by July 4.

Elad Benari ,

COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine

The US government won't meet its goal of administering one or more doses of a COVID vaccine to 70 percent of US adults by July 4, White House COVID response team coordinator Jeffrey Zients conceded Tuesday, according to AFP.

At the same time, Zients said President Joe Biden's administration had "succeeded beyond our highest expectations" in returning the nation to a pre-pandemic normal, as the infection rate has plummeted and large gatherings of vaccinated people are now considered safe.

"We think it'll take a few extra weeks to get to 70 percent of all adults with at least one shot," Zients told reporters in a briefing.

As of Tuesday, 65.4 percent of over-18s had received one or more doses of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shots.

70 percent of over-30s nationally have received one or more shots, and 70 percent of over-27s are expected to be partially vaccinated by July 4.

The vaccination rate has been declining since April when it hit a peak average of 3.4 million daily shots. The latest average is around 850,000 daily shots.

The death toll in the US from COVID-19 surpassed 600,000 people last Tuesday.

In late February, the US became the first country to surpass a half-million coronavirus deaths. That it has taken more than three months to reach 600,000 deaths is a testament to the slowing pandemic, as it took just a month for the US to jump from 300,000 to 400,000 COVID-19 deaths.

The rate of severe illness and death has fallen dramatically as more and more people get vaccinated, but hundreds of people are still dying daily.

Despite this, the country is registering its fewest cases since the pandemic began, as a result of current levels of vaccination, people who have gained a degree of immunity from past infection, as well as seasonality associated with the virus.