Twenty states reached President Biden’s goal of getting at least one dose of the available COVID-19 vaccines into 70% of adults by the Fourth of July.
The goal was set in early May, before the pace of vaccinations began to slow. In June, White House officials acknowledged that the nation didn’t appear to be on track to meet the goal. As of Saturday, the seven-day average of doses given per day was 1,121,064. About 685,472 people are becoming fully vaccinated daily. The nationwide vaccination rate is 67.1%.
The states that have fully vaccinated more than half of their populations are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington state. The District of Columbia also met the vaccine milestone.
Vermont is currently the national leader in vaccination, and Mississippi has the lowest vaccination rate in the country (46%). Fourteen states have vaccinated 60% to 65% of adults, including Florida and Texas. Sixteen states have vaccination rates below 60% -- almost all of those states are in the South.
Health officials say lower-than-ideal levels of vaccination are concerning because of rising cases of the highly contagious Delta variant. The variant has been circulating in states with lower vaccination rates.
Delta variant a concern
There were 14,463 new COVID-19 cases and 305 deaths last Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. The slight increase in cases lately has been attributed to the Delta variant. Experts say it accounts for between 25% and 50% of cases in U.S. communities.
"We are concerned, because where we're seeing increases in cases is in those areas generally that have lower vaccination rates,” Jeffrey Zients, White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said on CNN's "State of the Union.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC News on Sunday that vaccination numbers vary by state, but spikes are happening at regional levels.
"There are some states where the level of vaccination of individuals is 35% or less," Fauci said. "Under those circumstances, you might expect to see spikes in certain regions, in certain states, cities or countries. I don't think you are going to be seeing anything nationwide, because fortunately we have a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated. So it's going to be regional."