President Biden on Tuesday will lay out the path forward for getting more of the country vaccinated against the coronavirus after failing to meet his goal for the Fourth of July and as some communities see an uptick in cases amid the spread of the delta variant of the virus.
Biden will meet with his COVID-19 response team at the White House before addressing the public on his administration’s efforts to boost vaccinations. The president will highlight five steps the White House is taking to get more Americans vaccinated, a White House official said.
Among the steps being taken are getting more vaccines to primary care doctors and other health care providers in a bid to make the shot more accessible to those who have yet to get it. That includes getting shots to pediatricians so young people can more readily get vaccinated, the official said.
Biden will also emphasize the targeted outreach taking place at the community level to meet vaccine hesitant Americans where they are, and he will highlight expanded mobile clinic efforts. Biden last month visited a mobile clinic in Raleigh, N.C., and helped kick off a community canvassing event where volunteers would go out into the neighborhood to educate residents on the vaccine.
The U.S. narrowly missed Biden’s July 4 goal of vaccinating 70 percent of Americans 18 and up with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. As of Monday, 67 percent of that group had received at least one dose of vaccine. The Biden administration said that 70 percent of those 27 and older would have received at least one dose after the data from the July 4 weekend is in but officials say it will take a few more weeks to reach those younger adults.
Health experts have raised concerns that the delta variant, which is more transmissible and potentially more deadly than the original coronavirus strain, poses a threat to the nation’s progress. Cases have risen in less vaccinated parts of the country, and some localities have opted to reinstitute mask guidance even for vaccinated individuals.
Still, health experts have pointed to the effectiveness of the vaccines used in the U.S., and government officials have said the best way to avoid new outbreaks is to get more people vaccinated.
Biden struck an optimistic note during remarks on Independence Day, congratulating the public on the significant progress that’s been made against the pandemic and celebrating it as a day for Americans to gather with their friends and family in a way that had not been safe just a few months ago.
“Thanks to our heroic vaccine effort, we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus. We can live our lives, our kids can go back to school, our economy is roaring back,” Biden said Sunday.
“Don’t get me wrong, COVID-19 is — has not been vanquished,” Biden added. “We all know powerful variants have emerged, like the delta variant, but the best defense against these variants is to get vaccinated.”