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Biden, Harris urge vaccinations as U.S. looks likely to miss July 4 target

WorldJun 18, 2021 06:36PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A doctor puts out syringes with the Pfizer vaccine at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine clinic aimed at youths ages 12 or older at La Colaborativa in Chelsea, Massachusetts, U.S., June 11, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo 2/2

By Andrea Shalal and Michael Erman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday urged Americans to get COVID-19 shots, as the country looks likely to miss the White House's goals for vaccination next month as a new coronavirus variant triggered serious concerns.

"Act now, act now," Biden said in remarks at the White House, urging the unvaccinated to talk to their family and friends who have had shots and to their doctors.

Deaths and hospitalizations are going "drastically down in places where people are getting vaccinated," but not other areas, Biden said. "They're actually going up in some places."

At the current pace, the United States seems unlikely to hit Biden's goal of having 70% of adults receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 4, the Independence Day holiday.

As of Friday, around 65.1% of people in the United States had gotten at least one shot, and that mark has increased by less than one percentage point over the past two weeks.

That pace would have to more than double over the next two weeks for the United States to hit the target.

The White House had no immediate comment on the possibility of missing the July 4, 70% goal. Currently, only 15 states and Washington, D.C. have achieved that level.

U.S. government data https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccination-demographic show a political divide as well, with states won by former President Donald Trump lagging well behind in vaccination rates than those won by Biden.

“When you get the vaccine for yourself, that means that you will not possibly pass it on to somebody else in general because you’re unlikely to get COVID," Harris said during a vaccination drive at Atlanta's famed Ebenezer Baptist Church. "Isn't that an extension of love thy neighbor?" she said, to which several in the audience responded, "Amen!"

The United States has administered 300 million COVID-19 vaccinations in 150 days, a White House official said on Friday ahead of Biden's speech.

First lady Jill Biden and other officials have mounted a campaign-style push to encourage more Americans to get shots, using public appearances, local media interviews and advertisements to dispel lingering concerns.

Officials said Biden's push to accelerate vaccinations since taking office in January was paying off, with COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths down to their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.

Earlier this week, the United States marked a grim milestone, surpassing 600,000 COVID-19 deaths.

The U.S. death toll remains the highest in the world, although other countries, including Brazil, Britain and Russia, have higher death rates as a measure of their populations.

A White House fact sheet said the number of COVID-19 deaths has decreased by 90% since Biden took office in January, when more than 3,300 Americans were dying each day, and highlighted big gains in the economy as people return to work.

It said more than 175 million Americans had received at least one shot, and 55% of adults were fully vaccinated.

'A SERIOUS CONCERN'

Addressing racial imbalances in vaccination rates remained a continuing concern, the White House said, but pointed to gains there as well. In the past month, it said, people of color made up 54% of nationwide vaccinations although they comprise 40% of the U.S. population.

Biden said the new Delta virus variant, first detected in India, was "a serious concern" which underscored the need to keep increasing vaccination rates.

"It's a variant that is more easily transmissible, potentially deadlier and particularly dangerous for young people," he said. "But the good news is we have a solution. The science and the data are clear. The best way to protect yourself against these variants is to get fully vaccinated."

The Biden administration is counting on faith leaders and community groups to help increase vaccination rates and overcome lingering vaccine hesitancy, especially among people of color.

"Church is always a healing place. It’s so appropriate that we’re doing this here," Harris said in remarks at Ebenezer Baptist, where civil rights leader the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and his father once preached.

"We just need to get the word out. One of the most important ways is friend to friend, neighbor to neighbor ... please help us get the word out," she urged.

Biden, Harris urge vaccinations as U.S. looks likely to miss July 4 target
 

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Comments (8)
Transparent Labs
Transparent Labs Jun 20, 2021 10:26PM ET
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Not sure why anyone would listen to Biden, Harris or anyone they are connected with!!!
Transparent Labs
Transparent Labs Jun 20, 2021 10:26PM ET
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Not sure why anyone with a sound mind would listen to Biden, Harris or anyone they are connected with!!!
Rick Baier
Rick Baier Jun 18, 2021 10:36PM ET
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the lunacy people willing to roll up their sleeves for a rush vaccine for a virus that has a 99 .8 percent recovery rate across all demographic age groups.
Gene Kret
Gene Kret Jun 18, 2021 10:29PM ET
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Whites are being discriminated against! Boycott Coke!
roger whemr
roger whemr Jun 18, 2021 6:59PM ET
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Fast-forward several years: "If you or anyone you know have received the COVID-19 vaccine and have suffered a major cardiac event, you may be entitled to monetary compensation...oh never mind, we just checked and vaccine manufacturers were give complete immunity to litigation by the U.S. government since the vaccines were experimental and not FDA-approved and you decided to gamble with your life for a free donut and promises that they are safe by the same guy who funded the lab that created the virus."
Lewis Swan
Lewis Swan Jun 18, 2021 6:57PM ET
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Fast-forward several years: "If you or anyone you know have received the COVID-19 vaccine and have suffered a major cardiac event, you may be entitled to monetary compensation...oh never mind, we just checked and vaccine manufacturers were give complete immunity to litigation by the U.S. government since the vaccines were experimental and not FDA-approved and you decided to gamble with your life for a free donut and lottery ticket."
Thomas Trump
Thomas Trump Jun 18, 2021 4:42PM ET
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This Vax will go down as the biggest mistake and government over reach in history. so sad
Lewis Swan
Lewis Swan Jun 18, 2021 4:42PM ET
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I do not have any problem with people getting experimental vaccines and putting themselves at risk for adverse reactions such as cardiac issues - which have been demonstrated with every vaccine to the point of several of them having been temporarily put on hold due to reported adverse events - people can let pharmaceutical companies experiment on them if they want. That being said, my issue is the overt propaganda and misinformation coming from politicians and their media mo.uthpieces to coerce people to get the vaccine. Fauci/NIG funded the lab that created the virus, and now want people - even low risk individuals who have less risk with COVID than the common flu - to get experimental vaccines that have more adverse events reported in the VAERS system in the past year than every other vaccine in existence combined from the past decade+. The other issue is that mass vaccinating population is causing resistant and more deadly variants to become more prevalent...dangerous government.
Lewis Swan
Lewis Swan Jun 18, 2021 4:42PM ET
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*NIH. Also of note, Fauci did not only fund the lab that created the virus, but has previously written years ago that gain-of-function research - like that conducted in the Wuhan lab - benefit outweighed the risk of a pandemic. Fast-forward, and that very research caused COVID-19 and Fauci has been busy lying to Congress about the genetic research in Wuhan (as he has not been put under oath...yet).
Lewis Swan
Lewis Swan Jun 18, 2021 4:42PM ET
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One last note, when I say cardiac events have been demonstrated with "every vaccine" I mean the current COVID-19 vaccines...not with all vaccines, in general. I am not an anit-vaxxer...COVID vaccines specifically have been causing cardiac/clotting events likely relating to cross-reactivity with the vaccine and the body's own antigens.
Lewis Swan
Lewis Swan Jun 18, 2021 4:42PM ET
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One last note, when I say cardiac events have been demonstrated with "every vaccine" I mean the current COVID-19 vaccines...not with all vaccines, in general. I am not an anit-vaax.xer...COVID-19 vaccines have not been tested to the same standards as previous vaccines, have no long-term studies, and are not FDA approved. Vaccines function by creating immune responses, and what is likely happening is COVID-19 vaccines are causing the immune system to cross-react with the body's own cardiac system.
Stew Preston
Stew Preston Jun 18, 2021 4:42PM ET
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Lewis Swan are you a doctor or a vaccine expert? No? Then stop spreading falsehoods. The likelyhood of a cardiac reaction is very low.
Brian Walsh
Brian Walsh Jun 18, 2021 2:23PM ET
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If this Chinese Wuhan virus is so dangerous that it calls for the 99.7% of people whom the virus poses little threat to take an experimental injection, why have we opened the floodgates of immigration to hundreds of thousands of unvetted, untested and unvaccinated illegal aliens?
jonathon blackmon
jonathon blackmon Jun 18, 2021 2:23PM ET
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oh nice racism at its best
 
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