Biden hits crunch time on vaccinations

President Biden has less than a month left to reach perhaps his toughest coronavirus vaccination goal yet.

Biden’s objective is to give 70 percent of the U.S. adult population at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by July 4, even as the pace of vaccinations slows and those without their shots are increasingly hesitant to get them or are harder to reach.

The president has thus far been rewarded by the public for his coronavirus response, which has been his administration’s principal focus since he took office. Biden had set realistic, achievable vaccine goals in the first months of his administration as a way to measure his response to the virus.

And there has been good news on the virus front with large numbers of Americans getting vaccinated: COVID-19 cases and deaths fell to their lowest levels since March 2020 over the past week.

Where we’re at: About 63 percent of the U.S. adult population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, according to CDC data. But according to a Washington Post analysis, the vaccination rate has plummeted to fewer than 1 million a day

What’s next: The White House is now ramping up efforts to incentivize vaccinations, address concerns about the shots and make it as easy as possible for Americans to get vaccinated as it looks to reach the remainder of the population.

“I don’t think it is against the odds,” said William Galston, a senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institution who also served as a policy adviser in the Clinton White House. “It’s what’s known in the business community as a ‘stretch goal.’ If the administration is very well organized and focused, there’s a pretty good chance they can get there.”

But a new poll indicates 78 percent of unvaccinated Americans are unlikely to change their minds

Among U.S. adults who do not plan to be vaccinated, 78 percent in a Gallup poll released Monday said they are unlikely to reconsider their plans. Roughly half — 51 percent — indicated they are “not likely at all” to change their mind and get vaccinated.

Overall, just 1 in 5 vaccine-reluctant adults said they are open to reconsidering, with 2 percent saying they are “very likely” and 19 percent saying they are “somewhat likely” to ever get inoculated.

The same poll found 60 percent of U.S. adults say they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning two weeks have passed since their final dose, and 24 percent do not plan to be vaccinated.

More than half of all U.S. adults polled, 53 percent, said they are worried about people opting against getting a vaccine, including 25 percent who said they are “very worried” about vaccine hesitancy in America.

Weeks away from July 4: The poll results signal the upcoming challenge for the Biden administration to close the gap in vaccinations and get more than 16 million people their first dose before the Fourth of July deadline.