President Joe Biden again on Tuesday urged that all eligible Americans receive Covid vaccinations, stressing the importance of being protected against the highly transmissible Delta variant.
Although the US is well on its way to meeting 160 million fully vaccinated people in the coming days, millions remain unvaccinated against Covid, “and because of this, their communities are at risk, their friends are at risk, the people they care about” said Biden are at risk. “
“This is an even bigger concern because of the Delta variant,” said the president.
“It seems to me that this should make everyone think,” said Biden. But “the good news is that our vaccinations are highly effective,” he added.
Biden described his government’s recent push to increase vaccination rates two days after failing to meet his July 4th Covid vaccination goal.
His team is now training its focus on increasing the availability of vaccinations in doctor’s offices and work environments. They are also stepping up efforts to provide vaccines to pediatricians and other child health care providers, Biden said, with the goal of vaccinating more teens ages 12-18 before they go back to school this fall.
The team is also aiming to expand efforts to include mobile clinics and will work to refine door-to-door efforts to provide vaccine information to Americans who have not yet been vaccinated, the president said.
“Our focus now is on redoubling our efforts” to get more people vaccinated, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing Tuesday afternoon.
“There is more to be done,” said Psaki before realizing that “the vast majority of people will be safe from the virus” once they are vaccinated.
“If you aren’t vaccinated, you are not. That is also a message that we will continue to communicate clearly,” she said.
In his speech at the White House, Biden stressed that by the end of this week, nearly 160 million people in the US will be fully vaccinated.
There are currently 157 million people in the United States fully vaccinated, which is less than half of the total population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For people in the United States aged 18 and over, the percentage of CDC for those who are fully vaccinated rises to 58.2% and is 78.7% for those aged 65 and over who are most at risk from Covid.
Biden set a goal in May of vaccinating 70% of American adults with at least one vaccine by Independence Day. On the holiday itself, about 67% of US adults had received at least one dose, according to the CDC.
“The bottom line is that the virus is on the run and America is coming back, coming back together,” said Biden. It is “one of the greatest achievements in American history,” he said, “but our fight against the virus is not over yet.”
The Delta variant, observed for the first time in India, has now spread to at least 96 countries, including the USA, according to the World Health Organization.
The variant, which WHO says is about 55% more transmissible than another strain of the virus found in the UK, has thwarted some countries’ plans to lift social distancing restrictions. About 25% of all newly reported US Covid cases belong to the Delta variant, according to the CDC, which predicts it will become the dominant variant.
White House senior medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci last month named Delta the “greatest threat” to the nation’s fight against the pandemic.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told CNBC last week that while the Delta variant may lead to an increase in cases, he does not expect the massive increase in infections to the extent that it has seen earlier times Case was in the pandemic.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a raging epidemic across the country like we saw last winter. I think that there will be niches of spread and the overall prevalence will increase, “said Gottlieb in the” Squawk Box “. ”
The White House is deploying Covid-19 response teams across the country focused on fighting the variant. The teams, made up of officials from the CDC and other federal agencies, will work with communities at higher risk for outbreaks.
There are still about 1,000 counties in the U.S. with a vaccination rate of less than 30%, said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters last week.
The counties are mainly in the southeast and midwest, and the agency is already seeing rising disease rates in these locations due to the further spread of the delta variant, she said.
– CNBC’s Ylan Mui contributed to this report.
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC employee and a member of the board of directors of Pfizer, genetic testing startup Tempus, health technology company Aetion Inc., and biotechnology company Illumina. He is also co-chair of the Healthy Sail Panel of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean.