U.S. on Pace to Reach Biden’s Covid Vaccination Goal

While the pace of vaccinations in the United States has slowed, the nation is getting closer to the July 4 benchmark set by President Biden as it makes progress inoculating adolescents and those living in underserved communities.

The biggest gains in recent weeks have been made in vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds, who became eligible for shots earlier this month, according to a New York Times analysis of data. And there has been progress in reaching some groups, including Latinos and people without college degrees, with the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy, according to the Kaiser Foundation.

In April, after the rate of vaccinations peaked, Mr. Biden announced plans to target resources at places with lower immunization rates, including underserved rural areas and communities of color.

And as demand for vaccines slowed, Mr. Biden made the distribution and use of the vaccine more flexible. A national stockpile was created that could send doses where they were most needed. Pharmacies could accommodate walk-ins without appointments, and shots could be obtained at local doctor’s offices and mobile clinics. Community leaders were enlisted to reach out to the vaccine hesitant.

There has been some success with efforts to reach predominantly Black and brown communities. Nearly 50 percent of vaccinations administered through the pharmacy program have gone to people of color in the last few weeks.

In New York City, where more than 60 percent of adults have had at least one shot, the city is targeting Black and Latino residents, whose vaccination rates are about half the general population’s. Health officials are asking community groups to go door to door to reach unvaccinated people, and the city has also hired companies to promote vaccination in mostly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

Mr. Biden worked with Uber and Lyft, the two biggest U.S. ride-sharing services, to help jump-start the slowing vaccination rate in mid-May. The companies are offering free rides to vaccination sites until July 4.

In several states — including California, Colorado, Maryland, Ohio and Oregon — governors have dangled incentives in the form of lotteries that include cash prizes, scholarships and gift cards to keep the momentum going.

The incentives are a way “that moves the needles” for people who are waiting to get vaccinated, Dr. Bell said.

“I applaud them for being creative,” he said. “It eschews these false notions that we can’t appeal to people’s purse to make a good decision.”

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