- Biden: I mean literally listen to the scientists and not interfere.”
- While vaccinations have slowed, COVID cases, especially of the delta variant, have risen.
- Senate Minority Leader McConnell and Florida Gov. DeSantis this week pushed people to get vaccinated.
President Joe Biden called for new – apolitical – messengers, including scientists, athletes and members of clergy, to help push people to get the vaccine during a CNN town hall Wednesday, as vaccine efforts plateau even as COVID-19 cases are again increasing.
Among the messengers the country needs to get its vaccinations back on track, he said, were the nation’s scientists – many of whom have been denigrated by anti-vaccination advocates and others recently.
“What we’re doing is, number one, to restore America’s faith in science, is listen to the scientists,” Biden said Wednesday. “I’m not joking. I mean literally listen to the scientists and not interfere. Not rush anything. Just let the scientists proceed because they desperately want to get this right.”
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As the highly transmissible delta variant continues to spread, the seven-day average of daily vaccine doses administered in the United States nationally dipped below 300,000 on Thursday, the first time since late December.
While vaccinations have slowed, COVID cases have risen. The seven-day average for daily new cases increased over the past two weeks to more than 37,000 cases on Tuesday.
Biden also emphasized the importance of getting the support of “people of consequence” in specific communities in order to encouraged people to get vaccinated.
“What we’re getting is people of consequence, respected in the community, whether they’re athletes, whether or not they’re entertainers, whether they’re just well respected,” Biden added.
One influential group helping encourage their community to get vaccinated is African American churches, according to Biden.
“I have overwhelming support from the African American clergy,” he said. “They are opening up their churches for vaccination centers.”
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More than 68% of adult Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but the rate of vaccination has slowed significantly over the last month. Young adults aged 18-24 have the lowest vaccination rate and are the most likely to report they’re unsure of getting vaccinated, according to a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Black Americans were also less likely to be vaccinated, with less than a quarter having been fully vaccinated as of mid-July, according to data from the CDC.
And according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report published in July, counties that voted for Biden had a vaccination rate of 46.7%, while those that voted for Trump had an average vaccination rate of 35%.
Both Republican and Democratic politicians have urged people to get vaccinated.
“It never occurred to me after three highly effective vaccines were developed in under a year that we’d have difficulty getting Americans to take the shots, but that’s obviously where we are,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday. “These shots need to get into everybody’s arms as rapidly as possible or we’re going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don’t yearn for, that we went through last year.”
Ron DeSantis, Florida’s Republican governor, also pushed for vaccinations Wednesday.
“Here’s, I think, the most important thing with the data: if you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID is effectively zero,” DeSantis said Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Florida. “If you look at the people who are being admitted to hospitals, over 95 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all. These vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality.”
Taylor Avery contributed reporting