President Joe Biden on Tuesday laid out his administration’s plan to urge more Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, including “door-to-door outreach” in some communities.
Biden also announced new efforts to get more vaccines to primary-care doctors and pediatricians.
“We are continuing to wind down the mass vaccination sites that did so much in the spring. … Now, we need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftentimes door to door, literally knocking on doors, to get help for the remaining people protected from the virus,” Biden said. “As we shift from these centralized mass vaccination sites … we’re going to put even more emphasis to getting vaccinated in your community, close to home, conveniently at a location you’re already familiar with,” Biden said.
“It’s a year of hard-fought … progress. We can’t get complacent. Now, the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family and the people you care about the most is get vaccinated,” Biden said in remarks at the White House.
The president had vowed to reach 70% of the U.S. population 13 and older vaccinated by July 4 but the White House fell short of that goal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that just 67.1% of Americans have taken at least one shot, which means the number of fully vaccinated is even lower. But White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday that nearly 160 million people in the U.S. will be fully vaccinated by the end of the week.
In his speech, Biden said the rise of a more transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant in the U.S. “should cause everybody to think twice.”
“It seems to me it should cause everybody to think twice, and it should cause reconsideration especially among young people,” he said, referring to the demographic least at risk of from the virus.
In a speech on the Fourth of July, Biden said the fight against COVID-19 is not over. “Two hundred and forty-five years ago, we declared our independence from a distant king,” he said. “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.”
In a tweet on the same day, he said he appreciated all those who have been vaccinated.
“This Fourth of July, America is back. We’re headed into a summer of joy – of freedom – thanks to the millions of Americans who stepped up to get vaccinated. To the frontline and essential workers who have made this day possible: thank you,” Biden wrote.
Biden’s speech came as COVID-19 cases were up in nearly half of U.S. states, according to USA Today. “Alaska and Arkansas more than doubled cases in just the last week. South Carolina and Kansas are up more than 50%,” wrote the paper.
“In Missouri, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients jumped by nearly 30% over the Fourth of July weekend in a hard-hit area where immunization rates are low, leading to a temporary ventilator shortage and a public call for help from respiratory therapists. The delta variant, first identified in India, is spreading rapidly throughout the state, straining hospitals in Springfield and raising fresh fears that the situation could soon grow worse as holiday gatherings seed fresh cases. Missouri leads the nation with the most new cases per capita in the past 14 days; 39.4% of residents there are fully vaccinated,” said the paper.
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