Biden to double down on U.S. efforts to get more Americans vaccinated by the Fourth of July
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
Oliver Contreras | Sipa | Bloomberg | Getty Images
President Joe Biden on Wednesday plans to double down on his administration’s efforts to get more Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 by July 4, a date the president has said he hopes will mark a turning point in the pandemic in the U.S.
In early May, Biden announced his administration’s new goals in the fight against the coronavirus: getting 70% of U.S. adults to receive at least one dose of a Covid vaccine and having 160 million adults fully vaccinated by Independence Day.
Speaking from the White House on Wednesday, Biden will announce June as a “national month of action” to get more Americans vaccinated by July 4, a White House official told NBC News.
The president will also outline “an all-of-America approach” to his vaccine campaign, which will mobilize national organizations, community-based and faith-based partners, celebrities, athletes and other influential groups, the official said.
“The steps announced will make it even easier to get vaccinated, mobilize the country around vaccine outreach and education efforts, and incentivize vaccination,” the official told NBC News.
In details released ahead of Biden’s speech, the White House said the administration has asked pharmacies to extend their hours for the month of June and disclosed it is partnering with child care providers to offer free services to all parents getting vaccinated or recovering from the shots.
The administration is also organizing efforts to make calls and texts to people in areas with low vaccination rates and is challenging mayors to compete with each other to see which city can grow shot rates the quickest, according to an email from the White House.
Other administration efforts include “Shots at the Shop,” an initiative that will engage Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons across the country to support local vaccine education and outreach efforts.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will also lead a nationwide tour – called “We Can Do This” National Vaccination Tour – which will highlight “the ease of getting vaccinated, encourage vaccinations, and energize and mobilize grassroots vaccine education and outreach efforts,” according to the White House.
As of Tuesday, more than 162 million U.S. adults, or 62.8% of people 18 and over, have received at least one Covid vaccine, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 133 million U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
There was an average of 1.2 million Covid shots administered every day over the last week in the U.S. But some of the data over the long holiday weekend is incomplete, so vaccination rates may be higher.
Public health experts say Biden’s vaccination goal may pose a challenge for his administration as the U.S. has already inoculated those most enthusiastic about getting a vaccine.
Kevin Hensley is given the J&J COVID vaccine in coordination with the Cook County Health Dept. and the Chicago White Sox. Recipients were given a $25 card for discounts on concessions before Game One of a doubleheader at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 29, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.
David Banks | Getty Images
In order to administer millions of more inoculations in the next four weeks, the White House has said the president will take additional steps to encourage more people to get vaccinated and make it easier for them to do so.
Biden has said getting a Covid vaccine is “as easy as ever,” with many vaccination sites across the U.S. offering walk-ins.
The Biden administration in April launched a massive campaign to persuade more Americans to take the vaccines, which is using social media and virtual events where celebrities and athletes answer people’s lingering questions about the vaccines.
The CDC has updated its public health guidance to say that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a face mask or stay 6 feet away from others in most settings, whether outdoors or indoors. Many public health experts say the change was designed to encourage more people to get vaccinated.