President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that the United States is projected to reach the mark of 160 million fully vaccinated Americans by the end of this week and that his administration will engage in targeted outreach to get more people vaccinated, after the nation fell short of his initial July Fourth goals.
Just over 67% of American adults have had at least one Covid-19 vaccine and more than 157 million Americans are fully vaccinated as of Tuesday morning, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Biden's goal was to have 70% of Americans with at least one shot and 160 million Americans fully vaccinated by July Fourth.
During remarks at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, the President reiterated his plea for Americans to get vaccinated.
"The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family and the people you care about the most is get vaccinated," Biden said. "The best things a community can do to protect themselves is to increase vaccination rates. You can do this."
Biden outlined five key areas his administration is focused on as it works to get more Americans vaccinated and protect the population against the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The President addressed his administration's targeted outreach to provide information about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, getting vaccines to more primary care doctors and other health care providers, and stepping up efforts to get vaccines to pediatricians and other providers who serve younger people so that adolescents ages 12 to 18 can get vaccinated as they go for check ups ahead of returning to school.
Biden discussed expanding mobile clinic efforts and making Covid-19 vaccines more accessible by setting up vaccination clinics at workplaces and helping to secure paid time off for employees to get vaccinated.
Biden also stressed that the administration will continue to work with governors and local leaders and across the public and private sectors to get more Americans vaccinated.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier Tuesday that the administration would continue building on efforts in which it has seen the most success.
"You don't just give up just because you haven't reached every single person," Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing. "We're going to continue to apply where we, what we've seen have been the best practices over the past several months."
White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters last week that the US has more work to do to get younger Americans -- particularly 18- to 26-year-olds -- vaccinated. Zients told CNN on Sunday that the federal government would continue to make it easier for for the public to be vaccinated and the nation to increase the vaccination rate.
Despite falling just short of his holiday goals, the President spent the weekend touting the progress the nation has made in its fight against the pandemic. He and first lady Jill Biden hosted their biggest party yet at the White House and welcomed 1,000 essential workers and military personnel on the South Lawn to mark Independence Day.
But the celebration came at a time when federal officials are warning about the Delta variant and doubling down on getting the rest of the US population vaccinated and protected.
In a sign of the heightened concern about the Delta variant, the White House recently announced it would be deploying response teams made up of officials from the CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency across the US to areas with a high spread of the virus because of the Delta variant and low vaccination rates. The teams will conduct surge testing, provide therapeutics like monoclonal antibodies and deploy federal personnel to areas that need support staff for vaccinations.
In another sign the pandemic is far from over, officials said the administration plans to extend the public health emergency declaration for the pandemic that then-President Donald Trump announced in 2020 when it's due to expire this month.
Earlier this year, the administration said 90% of Americans live within 5 miles of a vaccination site.