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White House to concede U.S. likely to miss July 4 COVID-19 vaccine target

It said the administration is poised to meet the target for those 27 and older but will fall short of Biden's goal for adults 18 and older.

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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the administration's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response and the vaccination program during brief remarks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
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WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) - The White House is preparing to acknowledge it will not meet President Joe Biden's goal of delivering at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose to 70% of U.S. adults by July 4, U.S. Independence Day, NBC News reported on Tuesday.

It said the administration is poised to meet the target for those 27 and older but will fall short of Biden's goal for adults 18 and older.

White House COVID-19 senior adviser Jeffrey Zients is expected to announce the United States already has vaccinated 70% of adults age 30 and older, NBC said, citing a copy of his remarks. Zients and other top White House health officials are expected to hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. ET (1630 GMT).

Representatives for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fifteen of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., have delivered at least one shot to 70% of adults 18 and older.

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The rate of U.S. vaccinations has increased by less than one percentage point over the past two weeks and would have to more than double over the next two weeks for the United States to hit Biden's target.

Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other top officials have deployed a campaign-style push encouraging more Americans to get shots in order to protect public health as well as reopen the economy and return the country to a path of normalcy.

Ongoing racial imbalances in vaccination rates, the new Delta virus variant and the challenge of convincing young American adults that they should protect themselves with the vaccine remain roadblocks.

In his remarks Tuesday, Zients will acknowledge it will take a few more weeks to get those ages 18-26 on board, NBC said.

"The reality is, many younger Americans have felt like COVID-19 is not something that impacts them and have been less eager to get the shot," he will say, according to NBC.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Steve Holland; Editing by Howard Goller)

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