Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra fired back at critics of the Biden administration’s plan to go door-to-door promoting the COVID-19 vaccine by insisting that it is “absolutely the government’s business” to know who has gotten the shot.
The Biden administration announced, earlier this week, that they would be putting together “strike forces” charged with going “door-to-door” to convince vaccine-hesitant populations to get the jab. Speaking to a press conference, Biden touted the plan as a community-by-community public health push: “Now, we need to go to community-by-community, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and oftentimes, door-to-door — literally knocking on doors — to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus.”
But the plan met with sharp, swift criticism on social media and from Republican legislators, who blasted the Biden administration for believing it is the government’s job to check up on people’s private healthcare decisions.
“How about don’t knock on my door,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) fired back at the president Tuesday night. “You’re not my parents. You’re the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose. Why is that concept so hard for the left?”
Becerra went on CNN Thursday to insist that it “absolutely” is the government’s business but refused to elaborate as to why — other than to cite the pandemic itself, and the government’s decision to spend trillions on handling COVID-19.
“Perhaps we should point out that the federal government has spent trillions of dollars to try to keep Americans alive during this pandemic,” Becerra said, rationalizing the plan by suggesting that Americans have an obligation to the federal government because it passed COVID-19 relief programs and funded a vaccine research project.
“So it is absolutely the government’s business,” Becerra continued. “It is taxpayers’ business if we have to continue to spend money to try to keep people from contracting Covid and helping reopen the economy.”
Incensed, Becerra added that “knocking on a door has never been against the law” and suggested that Americans who do not want to be questioned about their vaccine status simply do not answer the door.
“[They] don’t have to answer. But we hope you do,” Becerra concluded.
The Biden administration appears particularly concerned about vaccine hesitancy after falling short of its goal to have 70% of Americans vaccinated by July 4th.
“Currently, 67% of adult Americans have gotten either the first shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If you include teenagers 12 to 17 who are now eligible for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the national percentage of those who have gotten at least one shot is 64%,” National Public Radio reported last week.
Even in southern and rural states, where vaccination has lagged, rates are now climbing closer to 50%, and the federal Food and Drug Administration is being encouraged to grant some of the available vaccines full approval, according to ABC News, in the hopes that full approval.