President Joe Biden is setting a goal of having 70% of the U.S. adult population with at least one Covid-19 shot by July 4, as the White House seeks to return the country to closer to normal.
The White House also unveiled plans to have 160 million U.S. adults to be fully vaccinated by that date.
He said that “if we succeed in this effort” Americans will have taken a “serious step” to return to normal.
Biden said that cases were down 40% over the past two weeks. He said that if cases continue to drop, Americans will need to wear masks less and less. The Centers for Disease Control announced last week that those who have been vaccinated no longer have to wear masks outside except in very crowded settings.
Biden will announce the goal in remarks at the White House on Tuesday. He also will announce an effort to vaccinate teens aged 12-15, if the FDA approves its use for those under the age of 16.
The president also will announce plans to make vaccinations more convenient, including walk-in vaccinations at pharmacy locations, as well as an effort to get shots closer to people in rural areas. He announced a website — vaccines.gov — where Americans can find locations to get the shots. People also can text their ZIP code to 438829 to obtain the information.
Biden also said that the White House is working with sports leagues to try to entice fans to get the vaccine, with things such as ticket giveaways, in-stadium vaccinations and merchandise discounts. Some businesses already offer incentives: Krispy Kreme gives away free donuts to those who can show proof that they had received the shots.
The announcement comes as demand for the Covid-19 vaccine is starting slowdown, signaling that it may be more difficult to convince large segments of the population to get the shots.
“We are going to make it easier than ever to get vaccinated,” Biden said.
Biden acknowledged that soon those most eager to get the vaccine will have had their shots. He said that the next phase will focus on adolescent vaccinations, making shots more convenient throughout the country, and convincing those who are hesitant or refuse to get the inoculation.
Biden encouraged the vaccine holdouts to talk to their own physicians or faith leaders, or to other family members who had already received the shots.
“This is one thing people across the political spectrum can agree on,” Biden said, while thanking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans who have promoted vaccinations. A number of polls show high numbers of Republicans who are resistant to getting the shots. A recent poll from CNN showed 44% of Republicans said that they would not try to get the vaccine.
He said that “we know we are going to get to a place where the doubters exist,” but he predicted that many who are holding out will get to a place where they fear infecting others should they get Covid-19.
“It is going to get more granular, rather than large,” Biden said, indicating that they will rely on spokespeople in certain communities.
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