High vaccine hesitancy creates new challenge for White House to encourage vaccinations

The lead White House COVID-19 response coordinator acknowledged Sunday that younger Americans feel less vulnerable to COVID-19, making them less likely to get vaccinated.

Still, Jeff Zients repeated the call for people to get the shot.

“If you are vaccinated, you’re protected. And if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not protected. And that’s particularly important for everyone including young people in light of Delta variant,” Zients told ABC “This Week” Co-anchor Martha Raddatz.

However, in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, among those not vaccinated, 74% said they probably or definitely won’t get a shot, which is up from 55% in April. The high percentage of the unvaccinated not wanting to get a shot is raising the concern that vaccine rates could remain stagnant as the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads across the country.

It’s estimated that the Delta variant was found in approximately 26% of new coronavirus cases in the U.S.

The Biden administration has officially fallen short of its goal to fully immunize 160 million Americans and to ensure 70% of adults get at least one shot by the Fourth of July.

Younger Americans have largely missed this goal with adults between the ages of 18 to 26 being the least likely to get vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 39.5% of people in that age group are fully vaccinated compared to 70% of American adults over the age of 30 who have received at least one vaccine shot.

The CDC also estimated that 66.7% of adults have received at least one shot and just over 149 million adults are fully immunized.

This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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