What is President Biden's door-to-door coronavirus vaccine strategy?
The national vaccination effort has fallen short of Biden's target but he will hope a new community-led scheme can encourage the vaccine-hesitant to get a shot.
The United States fell just short of President Biden’s goal of getting at least one dose of covid-19 vaccine to 70% of American adults by the Fourth of July. There is now concern that the US’ vaccination effort is stalling with little proof that the various incentives are affecting those hesitant about getting a shot.
As of Tuesday 6 July 67.1% of American adults had received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine, with just 47.5% of the total population fully vaccinated. With this in mind the Biden administration is searching for new ways to encourage people to get the vaccine.
Speaking from the White House on Tuesday, Biden said: “We’re going to put even more emphasis on getting vaccinated in your community, close to home, conveniently, at a location you’re already familiar with.”
Biden promises “door-to-door” vaccination effort
In response to the disappointing news that the country had fallen short of his target. Biden announced that he would be stepping up the US’ vaccination strategy and involve local volunteers like faith leaders, medical professionals and various community organisations.
He told those in attendance: "We need to go to community-by-community, neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood and, often times, door-to-door, literally knocking on doors to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus.”
We never again want to be where we were a year ago. While the virus hasn’t been vanquished, we know this: it no longer controls our lives or paralyzes our nation. And we can make sure it never does again. Find a vaccine near you at https://t.co/4MYpWqXVVo. pic.twitter.com/qXSgI573CS— President Biden (@POTUS) July 5, 2021
In addition to the national effort Biden also promised to provide resources to assist in areas where vaccine hesitancy is at its highest. These so-called ‘surge teams’ will be coordinated by the White House and assigned to states requesting additional help. This could include tracking outbreaks and speeding up the testing process, or could simply mean offering extra help with the public messaging.
South Carolina governor accuses Biden of intimidating and pressuring residents
Unsurprisingly the federal initiative has been met with little support from Republican-led states who claim that the government is overstepping by promising to enter states to boost the vaccination effort.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has written a letter to his state’s Board of Health and Environmental Control, accusing Biden of “enticing, coercing, intimidating, mandating, or pressuring” the vaccine-hesitant into getting a shot.
He added: “The prospect of government vaccination teams showing up unannounced or unrequested at the door of ‘targeted’ homeowners or on their property will further deteriorate the public’s trust and could lead to potentially disastrous public safety consequences.”
He argued that “enticing, coercing, intimidating, mandating, or pressuring” people to get their shots will deteriorate public trust in the state’s vaccination efforts. https://t.co/vFDoAPc1uM— The Hill (@thehill) July 9, 2021
However the White House has made clear that the people going door-to-door to assist with the roll-out would not be federal agents, and would instead be members of the local community looking to make a difference.
The President’s covid-19 coordinator, Jeff Zients, hit back at Republican lawmakers: "I would say, for those individuals, organizations that are feeding misinformation and trying to mischaracterize this type of 'trusted messenger' work, I believe you are doing a disservice to the country and to the doctors, the faith leaders, community leaders and others who are working to get people vaccinated, save lives, and help end this pandemic.”
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