- Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated at his July 4 speech at the White House.
- It came as the US missed its target of getting 70% of adults vaccinated by July 4.
- The highly-infectious Delta variant is also rapidly spreading across the US.
President Joe Biden said during July Fourth celebrations on Sunday that getting vaccinated is “the most patriotic thing you can do.”
Speaking on the White House South Lawn on Sunday, Biden said America was “coming back together” after “emerging from the darkness of a year of pandemic and isolation.”
But he still urged caution, saying: “Today we’re closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus. That’s not to say the battle against COVID-19 is over. We’ve got a lot more work to do.”
His speech came as the US missed its target of giving at least one vaccine dose to 70% of eligible US adults of July 4. The most recent numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which came on Friday, put that figure at 67%.
The missed deadline comes as the US is experiencing a growing number of COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant, a more infectious strain of the coronavirus that has recently spread across the UK and India.
Read more: How anti-vaxxers are engineering a wave of legal battles to fight mandatory workplace COVID-19 jabs
In a Sunday appearance on NBC News, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious-diseases expert in the US, said there was a “disparity in the willingness to be vaccinated” so “there are some states where the level of vaccination of individuals is 35% or less.”
“Under those circumstances, you might expect to see spikes in certain regions, in certain states, cities, or counties,” he added.
As Insider’s Yelena Dzhanova previously reported, five states — Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, and Utah — have been particularly badly hit by the Delta variant.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, also warned that the Delta variant is “outpacing” the rate of vaccinations worldwide, The Guardian reported Saturday.