Delaware's COVID-19 vaccination rate stands at 69.1%, and that .1 percent is important, Governor John Carney said.
"That's less than 7,000 vaccinations that we need to accomplish between now and July 4th," he said.
But will Delaware reach its goal and President Biden's goal that 70% of the population receive at least one dose of vaccine by Independence Day? It's going to be an uphill battle, the governor said, with an added dose of optimism.
"I think it's going to be tight," he told WDEL. "It's going to be close. I'm going to be optimistic and say we're going to get there."
It's far cry from the vaccine frenzy we saw earlier this year and the decrease in demand has forced the state to change its approach to vaccination.
"We have 7,000 individuals to go to get to 70%, we were doing that in a day at Dover Speedway or the DMVs just a few months ago...so now we send a half-dozen people out with the guard or the community health team...and they're going into the community whether it's a firehouse, whether it's the trailers going to a park somewhere; they're doing a brewery this weekend," said Delaware Emergency Management Director A.J. Schall.
But Carney noted even with an incentive program offering prizes like Firefly tickets and camping accommodations, aimed at luring younger adults to roll up their sleeves, recent efforts have only seen some success.
"Do the simple math, we've got a declining demand. People are out there, we make [it] available in the community, knocking on doors, and we don't get many takers," he said.
To be fair, some of the takers are getting a second dose of vaccine, which doesn't help the state reach that 70% goal.
"On the White House call, I think they said there are 16 other states and the District of Columbia that have already done it, so we know it can be done. We're pulling out all the stops, and we're making vaccines available just about anywhere, almost literally on any street corner across the state," he said.
To help the state get there, the city of Wilmington announced two weeks ago that anyone hosting an event in the city must also offer the vaccine in order to get a permit.
While the governor remains optimistic the state will reach the goal, even if it doesn't, he called it good motivation.
"The goal of getting to 70% has helped us think through and continue to stay focused on getting shots in people's arms and the best and fastest way to do that," he said.
To find out where you can get a vaccine in Delaware, click here. Anyone vaccinated at any point since vaccines became available will be eligible for a cash grand-prize and two low-digit license plates as part of the state's vaccine incentive program.
"Let's get vaccinated. Let's really go all-out this last week, get your name in there for $302,000 grand prize drawing on June 30," said Carney.
But after Independence Day, regardless of whether the state's and Biden's goal is met, the push to get shots in arms won't be coming to a grinding halt.
"No, no, we're going full-out; it's not the end, it may be the end of the beginning, it's certainly not the end," he said. "We're going to focus on the younger age-eligible children and students, looking forward to bringing children back for in-person instruction next fall, we really need to get those numbers up," said Carney.
Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health, echoed those sentiments.
"We still have our work cut out for us," she said. "We really want to see our vaccine rates go much higher for first and second doses....really reaching individuals that we have not been as successful in getting vaccinated yet and really learning what are the concerns, the barriers to getting vaccinated and addressing those concerns," she said.'
Right now, Rattay said there's no vaccination rate established that will bring about herd immunity.
"I can tell you that I am excited about us getting to the 70% first dose, but I think it's important that we be realistic, that that is not an umber that's going to suppress the virus--the virus will still be out there, it will still be circulating, and there will still be individuals who are vulnerable, mainly those who have not been vaccinated, and that's especially the case because of the variants," said Rattay. "But because of the variants and because our young adults and adolescents--still the majority are not vaccinated--we can't expect that we will be able to suppress the virus until we get those numbers up."