June 21, 2021 -- President Joe Biden announced on Friday that more than 300 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered during the first 150 days of his administration.
Biden focused on the milestone in lieu of his other goal to provide 70% of U.S. adults with at least one vaccine dose by July 4. As of Friday, 15 states and the District of Columbia have already reached the 70% threshold, but the country is unlikely to meet the deadline, according to The New York Times.
The 300 million mark is an “important milestone,” Biden said during a news briefing at the White House.
“It just didn't happen on its own or by chance,” he said, adding that the vaccination effort has been one of the “most complicated logistical challenges in American history.”
More than 316 million doses have been administered, according to the latest CDC tally updated on Friday, and 148.5 million people are fully vaccinated. About 65% of adults have received at least one dose, and 55% are fully vaccinated.
The number of Americans getting their first shot has declined steadily this month, from about 500,000 per day to 200,000 per day, The New York Times reported. If a similar rate continues, the newspaper calculated, the U.S. will likely reach about 67.6% by July 4.
The Biden administration is continuing a final major push to reach the July 4 goal -- with Vice President Kamala Harris in Georgia and Xavier Becerra, the health and human services secretary, heading to Colorado. Speaking at a vaccination mobilization event at Clark Atlanta University on Friday, Harris talked to students about the barriers to vaccination, such as time, transportation, and child care, and the options available in the area, according to 11 Alive News.
“We need to meet people where they are,” she said. “We can't have these lofty ideals about how everybody needs to get vaccinated and associate judgment with that without recognizing the challenges that people have in their lives every day.”
During his speech on Friday, Biden called for unvaccinated people to get a shot, especially as the delta variant, which was first identified in India, becomes more prominent in the U.S.
“The data is clear. If you are unvaccinated, you are at risk of getting seriously ill or dying or spreading it,” he said. “The new variant will leave unvaccinated people even more vulnerable than they were a month ago.”