By Deidre McPhillips and Priya Krishnakumar
Published July 7, 2021
In May, President Joe Biden’s administration announced a new goal to administer at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine to 70% of adults — and to have 160 million people fully vaccinated — in the United States by July 4. At the time, the pace of vaccinations was well on track to meet, and exceed, this goal. But vaccination rates have slowed to less than half of what they were at the time of the announcement, and the administration fell short of its goal by millions of people.
Some of that responsibility to communicate and build trust falls to the federal government, Cooper said. But as with actual vaccine logistics, much of the work will come down to state and local actors.
“It matters what the CDC says. It matters what President Biden says. It’s certainly their responsibility to send out clear messaging and to provide support and to be role models,” she said. “But when the rubber meets the road, it’s the local context — the door-to-door stuff — and meeting people where they are that will make the difference.”
Even with the disparities that remain, Cooper said she is “encouraged” by progress in vaccinations.
“Given the misinformation and conflicting messaging that people have gotten over the past year, it could have been a lot worse than it is. But I’m encouraged that close to 50% of the US population is (fully) vaccinated.”
Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, agreed and said he doesn’t think that coming in short of the July 4 goal should be viewed as a failure.
“I believe in goals. What gets measured gets done, and (Biden’s goal) was an aspirational goal to try to move us forward to what I hope is 80 or 90% of our population at some point,” he said.
These charts break down Covid vaccinations by race, age and region. They show continued disparities.
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