WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Summer travel and activities are rapidly gaining momentum, but the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations across the US has slowed down dramatically.
There are concerns the country could experience new coronavirus outbreaks and setbacks. In fact, the CDC warns the hospitalization rate for teens with COVID is rising even though teens are now eligible for the vaccine.
President Joe Biden set a goal of vaccinating 70% of Americans by the 4th of July but the White House seems less confident that goal will be met.
“We’re going to continue to push to the red tape to July 4th, but I can’t make a prediction weeks ahead of time where we will be,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Vaccination rates, particularly in the South, have plummetted to just over 1 million doses a day compared to 3 million a day administered in April. The drop comes despite the fact people 12+ are now eligible.
Over the weekend, First Lady Jill Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci visited a historic church in Harlem that’s administering vaccines. As mass vaccination sites around the country close from lack of demand, the White House said churches and other places trusted by communities will be key to reaching the President’s vaccine goal.
“I hope you go home and you call your friends and you call them or text them and tell them this was so easy and this was so great,” said Dr. Jill Biden.
“We’re going to end this outbreak for absolutely certain and the vehicle to ending it is vaccination,” Fauci said.
While it’s possible the US could still meet the goal of administering at least one dose of the vaccine to 70% of Americans nationwide, it appears unlikely that all individual states will meet that goal.
There are concerns those states with lower vaccination rates and the country could see new COVID outbreaks — especially with increased travel and new variants of the coronavirus.