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US Reaches Vaccination Goal—Late

70% of adults have had a dose, but experts say that needs to be higher
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2021 4:53 PM CDT
Vaccinations Hit Biden's Goal—Late
The Rev. Don Ajoko anoints the hands of Dr. Catherine O'Neal in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Monday. O'Neal and nearly three dozen other health care workers from around the country arrived to supplement the staff at the city's Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. Louisiana has one of the lowest...   (AP Photo/Ted Jackson)

(Newser) – The nation has hit President Biden's goal of 70% of adults having at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, though not close to his target date. Biden wanted to reach that mark by July 4; the White House DOVID-19 data director, Cyrus Shahpar, announced on Twitter that the threshold had been met Monday, the Washington Post reports. When Biden picked July 4, in early May, he and health officials hoped the country would be turning the corner on the pandemic by then. "We're going to look different as a country than we do today," one official said. Instead, the delta variant is causing a jump in infections. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 100,000 new cases, the most since February. Biden again urged Americans to get vaccinated, tweeting that the nation is "prepared to deal with the surge in COVID-19 cases like never before."

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The 70% mark, considered significant in achieving herd immunity from the virus, now seems insufficient. "We need to have at least 80% of the population vaccinated to truly have some form of herd immunity," a doctor and FDA panel member said, per CNBC. A percentage in that neighborhood will still mean that the rate in many areas will be much lower, a family physician in Phoenix said. "Even if America reaches 70% or 75%, if we continue to have ZIP codes and neighborhoods at 40 or 50%, they will continue to be at risk of having outbreaks and being hot spots," she said. Vaccinations are up: Shahpar said the seven-day average of the newly vaccinated people is higher than it's been in more than a month, at 441,000. The high mark for vaccinations came in mid-April, when more than 3 million people a day were getting shots. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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