(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden set a new goal for vaccinations in America, calling for 70% of the U.S. adult population to have at least one shot and 160 million Americans to be fully vaccinated by July 4 in remarks on Tuesday afternoon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, as of Tuesday, 105 million Americans are fully vaccinated, while 147 million have had at least one dose.
“That means giving close to 100 million shots — some first shots, others’ second shots — over the next 60 days,” Biden said.
Over the past 60 days, about 153 million doses have been distributed, so the new goal would represent a significant slowdown. In the past, the administration has set goals that some public health experts have criticized as being low targets.
Biden acknowledged in his remarks that, “the pace of the vaccination is slowing,” as many Americans have already been vaccinated — though he added that it was anticipated by his administration.
The president’s plan focuses on three key demographics: children between the ages of 12 and 15, adults who have struggled with access to the vaccine and Americans who are “less eager” to get vaccinated.
NEW: Pres. Biden announces initiatives “to bring the vaccine to people who are less eager” to get vaccinated.
“There are millions of Americans who just need a little bit of encouragement to get the shot.”
— ABC News (@ABC) May 4, 2021
No vaccines have been greenlighted for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration for children, which Biden acknowledged.
“The FDA’s scientists are currently reviewing the data to decide if and when to authorize that age range for vaccinations,” Biden said. “The FDA and the FDA alone will make that decision. But today, I want American parents to know that if that announcement comes, we’re ready to immediately move to make about 20,000 pharmacy sites across the country ready to vaccinate those adolescents as soon as the FDA grants its okay.”
Biden also touted the launch of a new government website, vaccines.gov, which he said is a “simple website” to help Americans find a place to get vaccinated.
“We know that many adults have not been vaccinated because they have found it too confusing or too difficult or too inconvenient to get a shot,” Biden said. “So for those having trouble finding a location or making an appointment, we’re going to make it easier than ever.”
Biden also talked about targeting Americans who might be hesitant to get vaccinated. He floated using incentives like working with sports teams for free tickets or discounts and stores to provide discounts to Americans who get vaccinated.
Recent ABC News/Washington Post polling shows that still nearly one in four Americans are disinclined to get vaccinated, something Biden said could be remedied with more information from trusted sources.
“Talk to someone you trust like your physician or your pharmacist, or people who have already been vaccinated,” Biden said. “Talk to your faith leaders or others in your community that you trust. Look to those people to help answer your questions.”
When asked by a reporter Tuesday whether this phase of vaccine outreach would be more difficult than earlier ones, Biden said that he thought it would be easier, given that in earlier phases vaccinations relied on the available supply. But he also said that convincing people is also going to be hard.
“We’re gonna keep at it, and I think at the end of the day, most people will be convinced by the fact that their failure to get the vaccine may cause other people to get sick and maybe die,” Biden said.
Biden ended with an appeal for Americans to achieve the vaccine goal: A Fourth of July celebration. Particularly, an Independence Day where Americans could celebrate with small, fully vaccinated, maskless, outdoor picnics and barbecues.
“We need you,” Biden said. “We need you to bring it home. Get vaccinated. In two months, let’s celebrate our independence as a nation and our independence from this virus. We can do this. We will do this”
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