President Biden announced plans for a more targeted vaccination strategy, including door-to-door outreach.
While about 183 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Biden urged unvaccinated Americans to get their shot, particularly with the growing threat of the Delta variant. The latter is more contagious and possibly more deadly than the original wild-type strain of SARS-CoV-2, and is now responsible for half of all cases in “many parts” of the U.S., he said, citing a discussion with the White House COVID-19 Response Team earlier in the day.
“Right now, as I speak to you, millions of Americans are still unvaccinated and unprotected, and because of that their communities are at risk, their friends are at risk, the people that they care about are at risk,” he stated at a press briefing Tuesday. “But the good news is that our vaccinations are highly effective. Fully vaccinated Americans have a high degree of protection, including against this Delta variant.”
Studies have shown that, since early May, nearly every hospitalization and death from COVID-19 has occurred in unvaccinated Americans, he noted.
“So please get vaccinated now. It works, it’s free, and it’s never been easier, and it’s never been more important,” Biden said.
The president said that his administration will be working throughout the summer to “wind down” mass vaccination sites, while increasing vaccine access and uptake in a more targeted way, focusing on five key strategies:
- Implementing a “door-to-door” education campaign to help inform Americans about the vaccine’s safety and affordability
- Renewing efforts to bring vaccines to more primary care doctors, family doctors, and other healthcare providers’ offices, as well as supporting walk-in vaccination in pharmacies
- Strengthening its approach to getting vaccines into the hands of pediatricians and other providers serving young people during “back-to-school” check-ups and physicals required for fall sports
- Continuing to make the vaccine available to workers by launching vaccine clinics at work sites, or helping employers to offer paid time-off for employees to get vaccinated at a nearby facility
- Expanding the number of mobile clinics at festivals, sporting events, and places of worship
Biden also stressed that his administration would be “stepping up” its response to addressing future outbreaks among unvaccinated communities by “mobilizing COVID-19 surge response teams,” with experts from the CDC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other agencies.
“They’re going to help states who have particular problems, prevent, detect, and respond to the spread of the Delta variant among unvaccinated people in communities with low vaccination rates,” he said.
The U.S. fell short of Biden’s original goal of 70% of American adults receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. However, the country was on track to hit the 70% target for those ages 27 and older by the holiday weekend. To date, over 157 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated (47.5% of the total population), according to the latest CDC numbers. Biden said he anticipates that 160 million Americans will be fully vaccinated by the end of the week.