Washington — The U.S. has finally reached the Biden administration’s milestone of 70% of American adults having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, nearly a month after President Biden’s original.
As of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 70% of American adults have at least one shot, while 60.6% of American adults are fully vaccinated. All three vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S. provide strong protection against serious illness or death from COVID-19, including in cases caused by the highly contagious Delta variant.
The U.S. reached the 70% milestone as vaccination rates have picked up in states with the highest levels of unvaccinated people. The seven-day daily average of newly vaccinated people stood at 377,418 as of July 28, the highest it’s been since early June.
The Biden administration admitted in late June that it wouldn’t reach the target by July 4. Before the July 4 target date, federal health officials insisted that 70% of adults with at least one shot wasn’t the ultimate goal, but rather a marker.
“Our aspirational goal for July 4th was 70% of the adult population receiving at least one dose,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters in late June during a White House COVID-19 briefing. “But that is not the goal line, nor is it the end game. The end game is to go well beyond that, beyond July 4, into the summer and beyond, with the ultimate goal of crushing the outbreak completely in the United States.”
The CDC last week recommended that fully vaccinated people wear masks in indoor public settings where there is “substantial” or “high” levels of COVID-19 spread, citing research showing that vaccinated individuals who are infected with the Delta variant can pass it on to others. The vast majority of confirmed cases in the U.S. now are caused by the Delta variant, but the risk of infection remains much lower for those who are vaccinated.
Biden administration officials are encouraging vaccine holdouts to get the shot, particularly given the rise of the Delta variant. On CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Fauci said unvaccinated people are “propagating this outbreak.”
“We have a hundred million people in this country, John, who are eligible to be vaccinated, who are not vaccinated,”. “We’ve really got to get those people to change their minds, make it easy for them, convince them, do something to get them to be vaccinated because they are the ones that are propagating this outbreak.”
Also on “Face the Nation,” former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb emphasized that the, and unvaccinated individuals still account for the vast majority of COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths.
“That premise is still fully intact,” Gottlieb said. “We still see that these vaccines are doing a very good job preventing symptomatic disease, preventing hospitalization and death.”
Alex Tin contributed reporting.