(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden is doubling down on efforts to get more Americans vaccinated despite missing his self-imposed Fourth of July deadline of having 70% of American adults vaccinated with at least one dose and 160 million people fully vaccinated.
The president was being briefed on the state of coronavirus by his COVID-19 response team Tuesday afternoon and will continue to urge Americans to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated — particularly as the delta variant continues to spread across the country, according to a White House Official.
“By the end of the week, the U.S. will be nearing 160 million people fully vaccinated, which is critically important as fully vaccinated people are protected against the delta variant,” the official said, previewing Biden’s remarks.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday Biden will not outline a new timeline for his next vaccination goal when he speaks Tuesday afternoon at the White House.
“I don’t expect a new goal to be set today. What I will tell you is that our work is going to continue, person by person, community by community,” she said.
When Biden strode to the microphone on Independence Day to address the largest gathering of his administration at a White House celebration that brought a crowd of 1,000 military families and essential workers, he had hoped to declare independence from the virus, but he ended up delivering a slightly different message.
There was still much to celebrate, including the progress the country has made since the previous Fourth of July fighting the COVID-19 virus by vaccinating millions.
But the president’s remarks Sunday also included a warning and a plea to Americans to continue to do their part.
“COVID-19 has not been vanquished. We all know powerful variants have emerged like the delta variant,” Biden said. “But the best defense against these variants is to get vaccinated. My fellow Americans, it’s the most patriotic thing you can do.”
The White House faces an uphill battle on that front. A new ABC News-Washington Post poll found that among unvaccinated Americans, 74% said that they are unlikely to get the vaccine.
Biden will use his remarks on Tuesday to highlight the administration’s efforts to get more shots into arms and outline five areas in particular that his team will focus on, including door-to-door outreach to educate people on the vaccine’s safety and getting vaccines to primary care physicians who white House officials believe are seen as the most trusted messengers on the vaccine.
The president will also look to increase the number of vaccines for children between the ages of 12 to 18 so they can get vaccinated as they go for “back to school checkups or get ready for fall sports,” the official said.
Biden will continue to push employers to do everything they can to make vaccinations easy for employees and will also announce plans to expand the administration’s mobile clinic efforts.
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