‘Not where it needs to be’: White House renews COVID-19 vaccination efforts as progress slows in south

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The White House is announcing new efforts to get Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 as vaccination rates slow down in the south and President Joe Biden’s Fourth of July deadline draws closer.

“We have a lot more work to do,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

With vaccination rates dropping across the country, the White House COVID-19 Task Force is working to find new ways to reach hesitant Americans.

“It is our pledge to make sure that vaccination is easy and convenient for everyone,” Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, chair of the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force said Tuesday.

That means increasing the number of pop-up and mobile units across the country and boosting access at local pharmacies nationwide.

“[They] will stay open late every Friday in June and will offer the services throughout the night to make sure individuals can get their shot,” Nunez-Smith said.

The push comes as vaccination efforts hit a critical month and as a handful of states still have less than 50% of adults with at least one shot.

“It is not where it needs to be,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. “We’re gonna continue charging through the finish line to meet the 70% goal.”

The White House is continuing its push to get much of the country vaccinated by the Fourth of July, but several states are lagging – specifically in the south.

“This is a free country. If you don’t want to take the vaccine, you don’t have to. But the vaccine, in my opinion, works,” Sen. John Kennedy said.

The Louisiana Republican is encouraging people in his state to get the shot.

“I am not gonna try to ram it down anyone’s throat but if I could wave a magic wand and convince everyone to take it, I would do that,” he said.

Thirteen states have already met the president’s vaccination goal. Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday if the rest of the nation doesn’t meet the goal, “we’re going to continue to keep pushing.”

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