The Biden administration is set to deploy more resources to areas where vaccine uptake remains low after narrowly missing its Fourth of July goal of getting 70% of adults at least one shot.
“We are continuing to wind down the mass vaccination sites that did so much in the spring. … Now, we need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftentimes door to door, literally knocking on doors, to get help for the remaining people protected from the virus,” President Joe Biden said Tuesday.
The Biden administration will redouble its efforts to chip away at doubt about the vaccines by partnering with about 42,000 local pharmacies and primary care physicians’ offices, where people feel most comfortable receiving medical advice. The administration will also boost access to the shots at pediatricians’ offices for children 12 to 15 needing physical exams before returning to school in the fall.
“As we shift from these centralized mass vaccination sites … we’re going to put even more emphasis to getting vaccinated in your community, close to home, conveniently at a location you’re already familiar with,” Biden said.
Biden narrowly missed his holiday goal to get 70% of adults at least one dose of vaccine and 160 million adults fully vaccinated. To date, just over 150 million adults have been fully vaccinated, and about 67% have received at least one shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccine hesitancy remains a problem in some Southern and Midwestern states despite wider access to vaccines. Unvaccinated people run the risk of getting infected with a strain of the coronavirus known as the delta variant, which has caused enormous outbreaks in India and has been estimated to be around 60% more transmissible than the highly infectious alpha variant, first discovered in the United Kingdom in September 2020.
The administration announced last week that it would send out specialized teams made up of public health experts to help supply COVID-19 tests and therapies, such as monoclonal antibody treatments, to people living in counties with higher rates of new COVID-19 cases per capita, such as Arkansas and Missouri.
The vaccines have been shown to work against the variants circulating in the United States, including the delta variant, which makes up roughly 26% of all active cases in the country. The CDC has signed off on vaccinated adults ditching their masks while encouraging other nonvaccinated people to continue wearing them.