President Joe Biden celebrated the United States administering more than 300 million Covid-19 vaccines within his first 150 days in office on Friday, but he warned the delta variant could hurt communities with low vaccination rates.
“What we are seeing is truly an American accomplishment,” Mr Biden said at the White House.
To date, more than 176 million people, or 53.1 per cent of the US population, have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 65.1 per cent of American adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
“That’s an important milestone that just didn’t happen on its own or by chance. It took the ingenuity of American citizens,” Mr Biden said. “We got here because of the American people stepping up and getting vaccinated.”
“We are heading into a very different summer compared to last year. A bright summer,” Mr Biden added.
When Mr Biden first entered office, he vowed for his administration to administer 100 million vaccines within the first 100 days – a goal the US easily achieved.
His administration has since set the goal to have 70 per cent of American adults receiving at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by 4 July, but current data indicates the country will likely fall short from that goal due to vaccination rates slowing down.
During his speech on Friday, Mr Biden implored unvaccinated Americans to get an available Covid-19 vaccine so they too can be protected against the novel virus.
Part of his reason for imploring unvaccinated Americans to receive the jab was due to the highly transmissible delta variant that has emerged amid the pandemic.
The delta variant is ”more easily transmissible, potentially deadlier, and particularly dangerous for young people,” Mr Biden said. “Deaths and hospitalisations are drastically down in places where people are getting vaccinated – but unfortunately cases and hospitalisations are not going down in … the lower vaccination states. They’re actually going up in some places.”
Mr Biden was asked if another lockdown might be in the country’s future as the delta variant spreads.
“I don’t think so because so many have already been vaccinated,” Mr Biden said.
But the president warned that communities with low rates of vaccinations could be at risk.
“It can cause more people to die in areas where people have not been vaccinated,” he said. “So no, not a lockdown but some areas will be very hurt.”
This week the US surpassed the grim milestone of 600,000 Americans dying from the novel virus since the start of the pandemic.