WASHINGTON, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The White House confirmed Tuesday that the country will not hit U.S. President Joe Biden's goal of getting 70 percent of American adults to receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by the Fourth of July.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said the administration, instead, has met its 70 percent target for people 30 and older and is on track to hit it for those 27 and older by July 4.
"We want every American in every community to be protected and free from fear of the virus. That's why we'll keep working to vaccinate more Americans across the summer and into the fall ... we are not stopping at 70 percent and we're not stopping on July Fourth," Zients said at a White House COVID response briefing.
He said U.S. officials are working with state and local leaders to reach younger people.
"We think it'll take a few extra weeks to get to 70 percent of all adults with at least one shot with the 18- to 26-year-olds factored in," he said.
Low vaccinations among young people are holding back the overall vaccination rate in the United States.
Zients said many younger Americans have been less eager to get a shot, urging vaccinations of the younger population to prevent the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
About 45.2 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 53.4 percent of the population has received at least one shot as of Monday, according to the latest data of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Roughly 144 million of people 18 and older are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
But some states -- such as Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Wyoming -- have fully vaccinated less than 35 percent of residents.
A new CDC study shows adults aged 18 to 24, as well as non-Hispanic Black adults and those with less education, no insurance, and lower household incomes, had the lowest reported vaccination coverage and intent to get vaccinated.
Concerns about vaccine safety and effectiveness were commonly cited barriers to vaccination, according to the CDC.
Biden announced in early May the goal to administer at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 70 percent of American adults by July 4.
Earlier this month, Biden called for a national "month of action" -- an "all-of-America sprint" to reach the goal.
Amid the vaccination campaign, nationwide COVID-19 case counts and death counts continue to drop, though the risk of illness remains.
Experts warned the Delta variant may bring severe threat to the country, especially in states with the lowest vaccination numbers.