But there are increasing doubts that the White House will be able to reach a goal it set for July 4: 70% of adults with at least one shot.
In brief remarks, Biden said that the administration made tremendous strides since he took office, with not enough vaccine supply nor an adequate system set up for mass distribution.
“We turned it around together by acting quickly and aggressively and equitably,” Biden said.
But he warned that areas with lower vaccination levels risk getting the virus. There has been a major drop in cases and hospitalizations across the country, but warned that there has been an increase in some places. One concern has been the spread of a variant of the virus. Biden said that although he doesn’t think there will be a need for another lockdown, the delta variant “can cause more people to die in areas where people have not been vaccinated.”
According to the White House, 65% of adults Americans have at least one shot; 55% are fully vaccinated. The New York Times reported on Friday that at the current rate, the Biden administration would fall just short of its July 4 goal. Even though the difference may not be significant for public health, Biden had set the goal as a cause for celebration, particularly as states ease restrictions and fully reopen. The Independence Day celebrations will still happen, as Biden touted the administration’s ability to get the virus under control.
“We’ve gotten 300 million shots in the arms of Americans in 150 days, months ahead of what most anyone thought was possible when we started,” Biden said.
Biden also was asked what he thought of a move by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to create a statement on Communion. It is triggered by conservative clergy who don’t believe Biden should receive Communion because of his stance in favor of abortion rights, even though the president regularly attends Mass.
“That’s a private matter, and I don’t think that is going to happen,” Biden said.
In creating their statement, which will be aimed at public officials and the Eucharist, the bishops also may have to contend with a myriad of issues, such as whether a conservative politician who favors the death penalty, which the church has long opposed, also should still receive Communion.