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Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden will announce Tuesday a new goal to get 160 million Americans fully vaccinated and at least one shot administered to 70% of individuals by the Fourth of July holiday, senior administration officials told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration had previously set goals of 100 million and 200 million shots — not full vaccinations. It aims to achieve the new goals with a plan to make vaccines more accessible and a continued public education campaign aimed at harder-to-reach and more-hesitant communities.

  • Officials said the administration also is prepared to mobilize immediately to begin vaccinating adolescents as soon as the FDA authorizes the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12– to 15-year-olds.
  • The agency was expected to grant that authorization by next week, the New York Times reported Monday.

During remarks being delivered Tuesday afternoon, the president was announcing efforts to make vaccines more accessible, including directing pharmacy partners to increase walk-in vaccinations.

  • FEMA also will increase the number of mobile vaccination sites, to target those in communities with less access to vaccines.
  • $250 million will be awarded immediately to local governments to boost their public education campaign efforts.

The administration will specifically target those in rural areas by shipping new vaccines to rural health clinics.

  • Over $100 million from the American Rescue Plan — the $1.9 COVID-19 relief package passed earlier this year — will be used to support vaccine education efforts in approximately 4,600 rural health clinics nationwide.

Administration officials previewed loosened public health restrictions as more Americans get vaccinated.

  • "That really is our goal and the goal of the president, to get people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can … so that we can do what we all want to do is to continue and gradually pull back on the restrictions, so that we can get back to our normal lives,” one senior administration official said.

Between the lines: Officials noted the 70% goal does not mean the country will reach “herd immunity,” and they continued to distance themselves from that ultimate goal.

  • "Rather than getting hung up” on the “elusive” target, one official said, the administration will concentrate on getting as many people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible.
  • “The one thing we do know that when we do that, the number of cases, unquestionably, will go down,” the official continued.

Go deeper

WHO director anticipates 100 million more COVID cases globally

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday that the world could see 100 million more cases of the coronavirus by early 2022, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus' comments come after the number of recorded COVID cases globally reached 200 million last week, only six months after the world passed 100 million cases.

Aug 11, 2021 - Health

New data on coronavirus vaccine effectiveness may be "a wakeup call"

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new preprint study that raises concerns about the mRNA vaccines' effectiveness against Delta — particularly Pfizer's — has already grabbed the attention of top Biden administration officials.

What they're saying: The study found the Pfizer vaccine was only 42% effective against infection in July, when the Delta variant was dominant. "If that's not a wakeup call, I don't know what is," a senior Biden official told Axios.

WH: Getting vaccinated "most important" step in hurricane preparedness

President Biden speaking at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The "most important" step Americans should take to prepare for peak hurricane season is to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in case they have to evacuate, the White House said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The statement followed President Biden's meeting on hurricane preparedness with senior FEMA officials and others, who advised him of the measure — hours before Tropical Storm Fred formed near Puerto Rico. Florida is in the path of the storm, which could possibly intensify into a hurricane.