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Biden offers new vaccination strategy after U.S. misses goal

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Jack Birle | The Center Square

(The Center Square) - President Joe Biden announced a new targeted approach to the national COVID-19 vaccination effort after coming up short on his previous vaccination goal for July 4. 

Biden outlined five key objectives as part of the new strategy at a press conference Tuesday after meeting with his COVID-19 response team. 

“As we shift from these centralized mass vaccination sites…we’re gonna put even more emphasis on getting vaccination in your community, close to home, conveniently, in a location you’re already familiar with,” Biden said.

The first three parts of the strategy are to increase vaccine outreach at pharmacies as well as family doctor and pediatrician offices. Biden explained he wants the vaccine to be easily accessible to people when they go to pick up their prescriptions or go for a doctors appointment.

The fourth part of the plan includes expanding opportunities for workers to get the vaccine.

“We’re also intensifying our efforts to meet people where they are outside of their neighborhoods,” Biden said. “This includes continuing to work with employers to make vaccination shots available at work, on a work site if possible, and/or giving employees time paid time off to get vaccinated at a nearby facility.”

The final part of Biden’s new strategy includes making more mobile vaccination clinics available at major events and gathering places to encourage people to get the vaccine. 

This renewed strategy comes after missing his goal of 70% of American adults receiving one dose of the vaccine by July 4. Biden now says this goal will be reached within the next week.

In his remarks, Biden also talked about having response teams ready to deal with potential outbreaks in states with low vaccination rates.

“We are mobilizing what I am calling ‘COVID-19 surge response teams,’" Biden said. "These team are made up of team from FEMA...the Center for Disease Control and prevention, and elsewhere across our government. They’re gonna help states that have particular problems, prevent, detect and respond to the spread of the delta variant among unvaccinated people in communities with low vaccination rates.”

Biden’s mobilization of these teams comes as states in the midwest have struggled with vaccination rates and are seeing increases in COVID-19 cases. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called for people to get vaccinated at an event in his home state Tuesday.

“There's no good reason not to get vaccinated,” McConnell said. “We need to finish the job. And I know there's some skepticism out there, but let me put it this way: It may not guarantee you don't get it but it almost guarantees you don't die from it if you get it.”

Biden’s remarks were not without controversy. Some Republicans took issue with comments Biden made regarding efforts to get people vaccinated.

“We need to go community-by-community, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and often times door-to-door, literally knocking on doors to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus,” Biden said.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, rebuked Biden’s calls for door-to-door vaccination recruitment in a tweet.

“How about don’t knock on my door,” Rep. Crenshaw said. “You’re not my parents. You’re the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose. Why is that concept so hard for the left?”

Biden ended his remarks with a plea for people to get vaccinated while also acknowledging the progress made during the pandemic.

“We are emerging from one of the darkest years in our nation's history into a summer of hope and joy, hopefully,” Biden. “We can’t get complacent now. The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family and the people you care about the most is get vaccinated.”