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White House to concede it’s likely to miss original July 4 vaccination target

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration planned to concede Tuesday that it will likely fall short of President Joe Biden’s goal of partially vaccinating 70 percent of American adults by Independence Day, but insist it has “succeeded beyond our highest expectations” in returning the nation to a pre-pandemic normal.

Jeffrey Zients, the head of the White House Covid-19 response team, was slated to announce that the administration has hit its 70 percent vaccination target among Americans ages 30 and older, and is poised to reach that threshold for those 27 and older by the Fourth of July.

But it will take “a few extra weeks” to include all Americans 18 and older to that group, he is to acknowledge.

“The reality is, many younger Americans have felt like Covid-19 is not something that impacts them and have been less eager to get the shot,” he plans to say, according to advance remarks obtained by NBC News.

But Zients and other administration officials say it is undeniable that Americans will be celebrating the Fourth of July holiday in a way that few could have predicted was possible when Biden took office five months ago.

“We always intended July 4 as a moment to take stock and celebrate the progress we’ve made. But by no means was it an end point,” a senior administration official said. “What really matters is what the country feels like and what Americans are safely able to do. Restaurants and schools have been able to reopen. There will be celebrations that are very different than what we talked about even a few weeks ago.”

Biden set two public goals May 4: seeing 70 percent of American adults receive at least one dose of the vaccination in two months, and seeing 160 million Americans fully vaccinated by then. Zients also plans to acknowledge the United States won’t reach that second goal until “no later than-mid July.”

When the president set those targets, he called it a “huge goal.”

“If we succeed in this effort, as we did with the last, then Americans will have taken a serious step towards a return to normal,” he said.

By then, daily vaccination rates had already begun to fall sharply from a peak of more than 4.6 million April 10, bottoming out at just over 500,000 at the start of June. Through Sunday, 150 million Americans had been fully vaccinated, with 65.4 percent of adults having received at least a single dose.

Since the administration launched a so-called “Month of Action” in June, the rolling seven-day average of daily vaccinations has ticked up somewhat – though not enough to guarantee the administration will meet Biden’s initial target.

The official, citing lags in reporting data especially around weekends and holidays, said the White House will still come remarkably close to reaching the president’s goal, even if it’s not clear until days after. And they denied that the administration was moving the goal posts by highlighting the 70 percent benchmark among a slightly narrower range of adults.

“I think for us, it’s less about the number and more about, does America look like America again? Have we protected some of our most vulnerable?” the official said. “Not only is the answer yes, but we’ve done it much faster than we anticipated.”

The 70 percent goal wasn’t the first Fourth of July benchmark Biden set. In a prime-time address in March, he set a more modest goal – that if Americans continued to follow safety protocols and ultimately got vaccinated, it was likely they could host modest gatherings by the holiday. “That doesn’t mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together,” he said.

Now, though, the White House is planning to host a major Independence Day celebration at the White House, welcoming 1,000 members of the armed forces and front-line workers.

“We have built an unparalleled, first-of-its-kind, nationwide vaccination program. And as a result, we have successfully executed the most complex, logistical task in history – administering 300 million shots in 150 days,” Zients is to say.

As it has pursued a range of strategies to encourage Americans to get vaccinated, the administration says it has continued to refine its strategy for reaching particularly that younger cohort between the ages of 18 and 27. In addition to one-on-one conversations and incentive programs, the administration has begun to increasingly warn of the risk of contracting the more contagious and potentially deadlier delta variant in pushing Americans to get their shot.

“The new variant will leave unvaccinated people even more vulnerable than they are a month ago,” Biden warned Friday as he touted 300 million vaccination doses administered since he took office. “But the good news is, we have the solution. The science and the data are clear: The best way to protect yourself against these variants are to get fully vaccinated.”

Zients plans to reiterate that the administration will continue its aggressive vaccination push well beyond July 4. Biden is traveling to North Carolina on Thursday for a vaccination-focused event, while first lady Jill Biden on Tuesday travels to Jackson, Mississippi, and Nashville, Tennessee — the latter a stop at a pop-up vaccination site at a distillery with country music star Brad Paisley.

“With the delta variant now spreading across the country and infecting younger people worldwide, it is more important than ever that they take this important step,” Zients plans to say.

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‘Are we paying for the French navy’s fuel?’ Nigel Farage wades into migrant crisis claims

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NIGEL Farage slammed Home Secretary Priti Patel as it emerged that Britain has reportedly given £54 million to France to help the French navy deal with the migrant crisis.

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Euro, EU army and budget controlled by Brussels! Independent Scotland under Sturgeon

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NICOLA STURGEON has been warned an independent Scotland would spell many issues for the country if it wanted back in the EU.

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Pelosi plans to add Republican Rep. Kinzinger to Jan. 6 committee

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WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is planning to add Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.,, an outspoken Trump critic, to the House select committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

“You could say that is the direction I would be going on,” said Pelosi on ABC’s This Week.

Last week, Pelosi rejected two of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s picks for the select committee, prompting McCarthy to vow to pull all of his proposed appointees. Pelosi said she spoke with McCarthy, R-Calif., “about the objections raised” to his decision to appoint Republican Reps. Jim Banks, of Indiana, and Jim Jordan, of Ohio.

Complete Republican involvement on the committee has remained in question. The panel’s investigation will include an examination of former President Donald Trump’s role in a mob of his supporters attacking to the U.S. Capitol to halt certification of his election defeat.

Kinzinger would join the only other Republican on the committee, Rep. Liz Cheney, of Wyoming, who was ousted as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference after she criticized Trump and fellow Republicans for continuing to push false claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

Other Republicans have also expressed interest in joining the committee, Pelosi said on Sunday. She added she was willing to appoint McCarthy’s other picks, Republican Reps. Rodney Davis, of Illinois; Kelly Armstrong, of North Dakota; and Troy Nehls, of Texas, and asked him to recommend two other members.

The resolution creating the committee gave Pelosi the ability to veto McCarthy’s picks, which must be made in consultation with her. The committee can proceed without the five members selected by McCarthy. The committee’s first hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

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