Biden to declare June as COVID-19 vaccine ‘month of action’
President Biden will declare June a “national month of action” to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4.
Biden, who last month set a goal to administer at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine to 70 percent of U.S. adults by Independence Day, plans to give remarks Wednesday on the status of the U.S. vaccination campaign, which has slowed considerably in the past few weeks as enthusiasm has waned.
According to a White House official, Biden will “outline an all-of-America approach to getting more people vaccinated including by mobilizing national organizations, community-based and faith-based partners, businesses, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young people, and thousands of volunteers.”
Lack of child care remains a major barrier to vaccination, according to experts, and the White House is aiming to make getting the shot as easy as possible.
To that end, the White House said four of the nation’s largest child care providers will offer free child care to all parents and caregivers getting vaccinated over the next month. Until July Fourth, KinderCare and Learning Care Group locations across the country will offer free, drop-in appointments.
In addition, more than 500 YMCAs in nearly every state will offer drop-in care during vaccination appointments. Bright Horizons, which partners with more than 1,100 employers to provide child care, will also provide free care to support the vaccination of more than 10 million people, including employees of Mars, Levi Strauss, Santander and USAA.
Biden will also encourage states to use money from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to provide financial incentives or bonuses to neighborhood- and home-based child care providers that will help people to get vaccinated.
The White House will also put an emphasis on community engagement, including phone and text banking to people in areas with low vaccination rates, and canvasses in neighborhoods close to walk-in clinics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 63 percent of adults, but only around 50 percent of the entire U.S. population, has received at least one dose.
Biden has held out the Fourth of July as a date where he hopes the country will be closer to normal, and reaching 70 percent of adults with one shot will help reach that goal.
Vaccination rates vary wildly across states, with the Southeast lagging behind much of the rest of the country. In states such as Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, only about a third of the entire population has received at least a single dose.
Meanwhile, some New England states are close to vaccinating two-thirds of their population.
In an attempt to mitigate the disparities, Vice President Harris will lead a nationwide vaccination tour, anchored in the South. According to the White House, Harris will “highlight the ease of getting vaccinated, encourage vaccinations, and energize and mobilize grassroots vaccine education and outreach efforts.”
Updated at 12:36 p.m.