Biden to discuss Covid response after US misses vaccination target – live
July 6, 2021world
Jeff Zients, the coordinator of the White House pandemic response team, acknowledged that lower vaccination rates among younger Americans contributed to the US missing its July 4 vaccination goal.
Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, Zients said the country still had “a lot to celebrate” for its independence day, noting that 67% of American adults have received at least one vaccine dose.
He went on to say, “Younger people, particularly those in their 20’s, have felt less vulnerable to the disease and therefore less eager to get shots.”
Zients noted the dangers for unvaccinated Americans as the delta variant spreads, saying, “We need to continue to vaccinate everyone, particularly young people, because what we know is, if you are vaccinated, you’re protected. And if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not protected. And that’s particularly important for everyone, including young people, in light of the delta variant.”
But according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 74% of unvaccinated Americans say they will not get a shot.
In his address over the weekend to mark US independence day, Joe Biden urged all Americans to get vaccinated as quickly as possible, arguing it is the “patriotic” thing to do.
“We all know powerful variants have emerged, like the Delta variant, but the best defense against these variants is to get vaccinated,” the president told an audience at the White House, where invited frontline workers gathered to celebrate the holiday.
“My fellow Americans, it’s the most patriotic thing you can do. So, please, if you haven’t gotten vaccinated, do it. Do it now for yourself, for your loved ones, for your community, and for your country.”
Biden’s speech came as vaccination rates lag in many Republican-led states that he did not win in November, intensifying concerns that political polarization is affecting the country’s pandemic response.
The Guardian’s Edward Helmore reports:
Several Republican governors with lagging vaccine rates in their states have urged residents to accept the shots as the Biden administration comes under pressure to reopen US borders to overseas visitors.
The Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson, West Virginia’s Jim Justice and Spencer Cox of Utah warned against vaccine hesitancy, which some disease experts, including the White House chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, said could create “two types of America”.
“We are in a race,” Hutchinson said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. About 32% of people in Arkansas are fully vaccinated, compared with 47.9% nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. “If we stopped right here, and we didn’t get a greater per cent of our population vaccinated, then we’re going to have trouble in the next school year and over the winter.” The solution, he said, “is the vaccinations”.
Justice told ABC’s This Week: “Red states probably have a lot of people that are very, very conservative in their thinking and they think, ‘Well, I don’t have to do that.’ But they’re not thinking right.”
Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.
Joe Biden will speak this afternoon on his administration’s ongoing efforts to get Americans vaccinated against coronavirus.
The speech comes two days after the country failed to meet Biden’s goal of having 70% of American adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4, the US independence day.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67.1% of American adults have now received at least one vaccine dose, and 58.2% of adults are fully vaccinated.
However, there are large regional disparities in vaccination rates. The CDC director, Dr Rochelle Walensky, noted last week that there are about 1,000 US counties where less than 30% of the community is vaccinated.
As the more highly contagious delta variant of coronavirus continues to spread, those communities could be at much higher risk of outbreaks, as Dr Anthony Fauci warned in an interview on Sunday.
“Fortunately, we have a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated. So it’s going to be regional,” Fauci told NBC News. “We’re going to see, and I’ve said, almost two types of America.”
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.