WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden celebrated a milestone on Friday as he announced 300 million vaccine doses administered since he took office 150 days ago and warned of the looming threat of a new variant in the U.S.
The new milestone comes as the country is still currently in danger of falling short of the president’s goal of at least 70 percent of all Americans having at least one dose of the vaccine by the Fourth of July.
“I see an important milestone that just didn’t happen on its own or by chance. It took the ingenuity of American scientists, full capacity of American companies and whole government response across federal, state, tribal and local governments,” Biden said.
As he touted the 300 million vaccination mark, Biden issued a warning to those still not wanting to get the shot, saying Covid cases will rise in areas with lower vaccination rates as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to surge.
“People getting seriously ill and being hospitalized due to Covid-19 are those who have not been fully vaccinated,” he said. “[The Delta variant] is a variant that is more easily transmissible, potentially deadlier, and particularly dangerous for young people.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 143 million adults are fully vaccinated and 65.1 percent have their first shot. That’s just five percent and 17 million people short of his goal of 160 million.
Despite that, Biden says July 4th is still going to be a day to be celebrated by all.
“On July 4, we’re going to celebrate our independence from the virus. As we celebrate our independence of our nation, we want every everyone to be able to do that,” he said.
Speaking on Good Morning America, Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the Delta variant will “probably” become the dominate strain the U.S. in the coming months.
Walensky also confirmed the Delta variant is currently making up 10 percent of all U.S. cases, up from the 2.7 percent just a few months ago.
As part of the Biden administration’s efforts to keep the nation focused on squashing the virus, Vice President Kamala Harris visited a pop-up vaccination site in Atlanta on Friday.
“Please help us get the word out,” she said to a small crowd. “You love President Biden, you love me, you love yourself, you love your family, you love your community – help us get the word out.”
The issues surrounding the lack of vaccination rates going down have been out of Biden’s control with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine causing blood clots in a small number of people and the winter storm shutting down roads back in February.
Still, the president warned those who are unvaccinated to get their shot as soon as possible.
“The new variant will leave unvaccinated people even more vulnerable than they were a month ago,” Biden said.