White House to shift COVID-19 vaccine to states with more need

Biden to set goal for 70% of U.S. adults to have one shot of vaccine by July 4

The president's new goal would result in roughly half of the entire US population being vaccinated by early July.

U.S. President Joe Biden is setting a new COVID-19 vaccination goal to deliver at least one dose to 70 per cent of adult Americans by July 4, the White House said Tuesday, as the administration pushes to make it easier for people to get shots and to bring the country closer to normalcy.

"There are millions of Americans who just need a little bit of encouragement to get the shot", he said.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday outlined the next stage of the U.S.'s COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan - a plan that prioritizes walk-in appointments at local pharmacies and pop-up clinics to make vaccinations easier for those who have not yet gotten the shot. A Monmouth University survey conducted in April found that about one-fifth of US adults said they do not plan to get vaccinated.

Ahead of the Food and Drug Administration's expected authorisation of the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 by early next week, the White House is also developing plans to speed vaccinations to that age group. "This is your choice: It's life and death".

He still remains confident that those who remains skeptical about getting vaccinated will come around.

The urgency to expand the pool of those getting the shots is rooted in hopes of stamping out the development of new variants that could emerge from unchecked outbreaks and helping the country further reopen by the symbolic moment of Independence Day, exactly two months away.

Biden's goal is a tacit acknowledgement of the declining interest in shots.

"The light at the end of the tunnel is actually growing brighter and brighter", Biden said.

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States that are seeing flagging demand for COVID-19 vaccines or not ordering their full allocation of COVID-19 vaccines will see extra supplies delivered to other states, according to the White House.

Governors were informed of the change by the White House on Tuesday morning.

COVID-19 vaccine doses allocated to a USA state but left unordered will become available to other states under a policy shift aimed at delivering vaccines to where they are most in demand, the White House said on Tuesday. Louisiana, meanwhile, hasn't drawn down its full vaccine allocation from the federal government for the last few weeks. The administration had previously allocated shots evenly to states, based on adult population, regardless of how many injections were given.

The White House previously resisted efforts to distribute vaccine by metrics other than population.

The weekly allocations will still be determined by adult population, however states had been allowed to carryover unordered doses week-to-week in case they needed them in the coming weeks.

Biden will announce that the administration is making almost $1.5 billion in funds from the coronavirus rescue package available for community organizations, rural health clinics, and state and local governments as part of the push to increase vaccination and testing rates in underserved areas.

Individual states have made similar shifts internally to account for changing demand.

The New York Times reported Monday that most scientists and public health experts believe that the USA will not reach herd immunity, at least not in the near future.

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