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President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will welcome 1,000 essential workers and military family members to the White House on Sunday for a barbecue on the South Lawn to celebrate the Fourth of July.
The celebration is being held despite the fact that Biden has failed to meet his stated goal of having 70 percent of American adults vaccinated by the holiday.
To attend the Independence Day event, the first major in-person White House gathering since Biden took office in January, those invited must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Masks will not be required, as per CDC guidance regarding vaccinated individuals gathering in large numbers.
After the event, where burgers will be served, there will be a 17-minute fireworks display set off from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the event would serve as a celebration of “our independence from the virus,” acting as a marker of progress in the US’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That same day, the president made it clear he was determined to have a positive weekend, snapping at journalists during an event to celebrate the buoyant monthly jobs report that came out that morning.
“I want to talk about happy things, man. Look, it’s Fourth of July,” the commander-in-chief quipped. “I’m concerned that you’re asking me questions that I will answer next week, but it’s the holiday weekend. I’m going to celebrate it. There’s great things happening.”
“The Fourth of July this year is different than the Fourth of July of last year,” he added. “And it’s going to be better next year.”
Aside from Biden, members of his administration have also begun making stops across the country to promote a new phase of the federal COVID response, despite the slowing in vaccination rates.
As a result of that slowdown, the White House said last month that it would not reach President Biden’s goal of getting 70 percent of American adults to receive at least one COVID-19 shot by the Fourth of July.
Jeff Zients, Biden’s COVID-19 response coordinator, blamed the failure on lagging vaccination rates among adults 18 to 26, saying the administration has “more work to do” with the demographic.
“We think it’ll take a few extra weeks to get to 70 percent of all adults with at least one shot with the 18- to 26-year-olds factored in,” Zients said at a press briefing last month.
Currently, at least 70 percent of adults ages 30 and older have received at least one vaccine shot, and the country is on track to hit the same target for those 27 and older by July 4, he also said at the time.
With Post wires
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