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Biden to mark 300 million Covid-19 shots as demand lags White House expectations

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will mark 300 million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in his first 150 days in office in remarks Friday, touting the milestone as he is likely to miss his goal to get 70 percent of Americans their fist Covid-19 vaccine shot by July 4.

“The virus is in retreat, which has brought Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths down to their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic last year,” said a White House official. “The President will also make clear that there is more work to be done, and highlight the ongoing work by the Biden-Harris Administration to achieve equity in our pandemic response.”

The White House has increased efforts this month to bolster demand for the vaccine in order to meet his July 4 goal.

Biden started June by touting free child care and the lure of a complimentary beer to try to persuade more Americans to get vaccinated. The White House has also been encouraging companies to offer incentives to their employees and customers who get vaccinated, expanding the hours and locations of vaccination centers, and increasing its public messaging campaign.

The effort appears to be producing some results — the U.S. has gone from administering an average of 937,000 daily doses on June 5 to 1.17 million doses this week. But Biden is still unlikely to meet his 70 percent goal, according to an analysis of data by NBC News.

At least 65 percent of adults have gotten at least one shot, up from the 56 percent when Biden announced the goal on May 4, according to White House data. Among those 65 and older, 87 percent have at least one shot and 74 percent of those 40 and over have gotten their first dose, the White House said.

Vaccination rates vary widely by state. While 15 states have vaccinated more than 70 percent of their populations with at least their first dose, others like Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have yet to hit the 50 percent mark.

Daily case counts nationwide have hit their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic, with new cases and deaths down by more than 90 percent since Biden took office, the White House said.

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