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Grant Hindsley/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. would need to significantly ramp up coronavirus vaccinations if we’re going to reach herd immunity any time soon.

Why it matters: At minimum, herd immunity requires vaccinating 70% of the population. And reaching that benchmark is especially difficult — because children aren’t eligible for the vaccines yet, the U.S. would need to inoculate the vast majority of adults.

By the numbers: The U.S. would need to administer 2.4 million doses per day in order to vaccinate 70% of the population by July 4.

  • To get there by Labor Day would require 1.9 million doses per day.
  • To reach herd immunity by Jan. 1, 2022, we’d need 1.2 million doses per day.

Where it stands: The Centers for Disease Control reported 1.6 million vaccinations last Friday, and yesterday the Biden administration upped its goal — it's now aiming for 1.5 million shots per day, instead of 1 million.

  • If the administration also uses that time to create a better, more coordinated process, including standing up more vaccine sites, then ramping up to 2 million to 3 million doses per day by the summer seems reasonable.

Yes, but: Supply may be the limiting factor. 

  • There are some reasons for optimism, though, with vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax expected to come online this year.
  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one shot, so those supplies will stretch further.

What we’re watching: Getting this job done will require an adequate build- up of supply, and the Biden administration will have to respond quickly to new issues as they arise.

  • Reaching such a large percentage of the adult population will also require overcoming vaccine hesitancy, especially in rural America and communities of color.

Go deeper.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

23 mins ago - World

U.S. will give Russians written response to NATO demands, Blinken says

Blinken and Lavrov shake hands in Geneva. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed after a meeting with his Russian counterpart on Friday that the U.S. will provide written answers to Russia's security demands next week.

Why it matters: Russia claims to be waiting for "concrete answers" to its demands that NATO rule out further expansion and roll back its presence in eastern Europe before deciding its next steps on Ukraine. But the U.S. and NATO have called those proposals "non-starters," and Friday's meeting offered no breakthroughs, so it's unclear how written answers might change the equation.

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