Biden outlines ways to get COVID-19 vaccine to hesitant Americans as demand ebbs

Vaccine
The Biden administration is sending more COVID-19 vaccine doses to rural areas and pediatricians in an effort to convince hesitant Americans to get the shots. (Getty / E+ / Geber86)

President Joe Biden laid out a new goal to have 70% of adult Americans get at least their first COVID-19 vaccine shot by the Fourth of July and have 160 million Americans fully vaccinated.

The goal, outlined by Biden in a speech Tuesday, comes as the federal government is pushing to convince reluctant Americans to get vaccinated.

Nearly 85% of seniors have gotten their first vaccine dose, but there are “lots of younger people who believe they don’t need it,” he said. “Getting vaccinated not only protects you but reduces risk of giving the virus to somebody else.”

Biden announced several tools aimed at getting the vaccine to hard-to-reach areas.

For example, the administration will give vaccines to pediatricians in the following weeks to administer doses to younger Americans. The decision comes as the Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide on whether to approve use of Pfizer’s vaccine in teens.

“If teens are on the move this summer, they can get their first shot in one place and the second elsewhere,” Biden said.

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Another major move is to direct the federal government’s pharmacy partners that include major chains such as CVS and Walgreens to offer walk-in hours for people who don’t want to get an appointment.

The Biden administration is also shipping new allocations to rural healthcare clinics in an attempt to spread access to harder-to-reach areas.

“We know vaccination rates are lower in rural areas, and that is why we are going to get vaccines to those also,” Biden said.

At the same time, the administration will likely wind down mass vaccination sites that were propped up to meet the surging demand for the vaccine.

Biden said it will take close to 100 million doses over the next two months to reach the goal of 70% of American adults with their first dose.