300M US vax shots since Biden took office

Since Joe Biden took office 150 days ago, 300 million COVID vaccinations have been given in the US.
Since Joe Biden took office 150 days ago, 300 million COVID vaccinations have been given in the US.

US President Joe Biden has taken a cautious victory lap in his quest to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, announcing that 300 million vaccine shots have been administered in the 150 days since he took office.

Biden credited scientists, companies, the American people and his whole-of-government effort. The president noted that the widespread vaccination campaign had set the stage for most Americans to have a relatively normal summer as businesses reopen and employers hire.

"We're heading into a very different summer compared to last year," the president said on Friday.

"A bright summer. Prayerfully, a summer of joy."

But as Biden marks one milestone, he is in danger of failing to meet another: his target to have 70 per cent of American adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4th, in a little over two weeks.

Overall, about 168 million American adults, or 65.1 per cent of the US population 18 years and older, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The pace of new vaccinations in the US has dropped significantly from a high of nearly two million per day about two months ago, jeopardising Biden's ability to hit the 70 per cent mark.

The White House said its whole-of-government approach to the vaccination effort has put the virus in retreat, which in turn has brought COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths to their lowest levels in more than a year.

But Biden noted in his remarks that some communities in states with lower vaccination rates are seeing cases and hospitalisations increase.

The administration is in the middle of a month-long blitz to combat vaccine hesitancy and the lack of urgency some people feel to get the shots, particularly in the South and Midwest.

The Biden administration insists that even if the 70 per cent vaccination goal is unmet, it will have little effect on the overall US recovery, which is already ahead of where Biden said it would be months ago.

Biden wants to celebrate Independence Day as a "summer of freedom" from the virus.

Earlier this week, the White House announced plans to host first responders, essential workers and service members and their families on the South Lawn for a cookout and to watch the fireworks over the National Mall.

More than 1000 guests are expected for what will be one of the largest events of Biden's presidency.

Australian Associated Press