President Joe Biden wants 70 percent of American adults to have at least one vaccine shot by July 4, and his administration is setting up a framework for vaccinating adolescents when the Food and Drug Administration authorizes a vaccine for younger ages.
“We know that many adults had not been vaccinated because they have found it too confusing or too difficult or too inconvenient to get a shot,” Biden said in a public address Tuesday, outlining the latest efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic and encourage vaccinations. “For those having trouble finding a location or making an appointment, we’re going to make it easier than ever.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 56 percent of adults in the United States—more than 145.3 million people—already have received one vaccine dose. But vaccinations have varied by state, and daily doses administered have begun to taper in recent days.
More than 574,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States since the start of the pandemic last year.
Biden recently urged businesses and employers to offer incentives for people to get vaccinated. On Tuesday, the White House launched vaccines.gov and a texting feature, where people can send their ZIP codes to 438829 to find vaccine availability near them.
“Now that we have the vaccine supply, our focus is on convincing even more Americans to show up and get the vaccine that is available to them,” Biden said.
His administration plans to spend millions on outreach and increase opportunities for easy, no-appointment access to shots through pharmacies, local health clinics and mobile and pop-up events.
Unfounded conspiracy theories have spread about the vaccines, creating hesitancy among some people, and the fight against COVID-19 has become politicized. Biden credited prominent Republicans, including Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, with making vaccination a bipartisan priority.
“While we may not always agree on everything, this is one thing people across the political spectrum can agree on,” Biden said.
More than $130 million will be allocated to improve vaccine education and information in underserved communities. Another $250 million will go to community-based organizations to mobilize outreach efforts.
“It’s my prayer that more and more people who get vaccinated are going to be listening to people who they love, and they’re going to say, ‘Why don’t you just go ahead and do it?'” Biden said.