WASHINGTON – Vice President Kamala Harris travels to Greenville on Monday to launch a nationwide vaccination tour by senior administration officials, aimed at getting 70% of American adults in the arms shot by the 4th July.
It will end the week with a layover in Atlanta on June 18, according to an administration official who first provided details to USA TODAY.
First Lady Jill Biden, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and cabinet members are also hitting the road, making stops in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Louisiana throughout the week.
Officials will visit pop-up clinics, visit churches and college campuses, and engage with historically underserved communities to encourage people to get vaccinated.
The tour is part of the Biden administration’s “Action Month” announced last week to speed up vaccination efforts.
During the first weekend, local organizations and members of the COVID-19 community body organized more than 1,000 events across the country in all 50 states.
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While at least a dozen states have met President Joe Biden’s target of at least one bullet in the arm of 70% of adults by next month, vaccination rates are the most down in the south, where the vaccination tour is focused.
“I don’t want to see the country that is already too divided become divided in a new way,” Biden said last week, “between places where people live without fear of COVID and places where, when the fall happens, death and serious illness return. “
The national rate is 64% for adults.
If the shooting continues at its current rate, the United States will not hit Biden’s target.
Unvaccinated adults are younger and more likely to identify as Republicans or Republican-leaning, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan health research organization. They also have lower education and income levels and are more likely to be uninsured.
The majority are white, but a large portion are black and Hispanic adults.
About eight in 10 of those who say they “definitely will not” be vaccinated say the severity of the pandemic has been “greatly exaggerated” in the news.
Efforts to pick up the pace include encouraging vaccination incentives, such as discounts or raffles for those vaccinated. Some child care providers are offering free child care until July 4 for parents and caregivers who are getting vaccinated or recovering from the vaccination, and many pharmacies are extending hours this month to Fridays to adapt to nighttime vaccinations.
A “Shots at the Shop” initiative brings together 1,000 black-owned hair and beauty salons across the country to serve as vaccination locations.
Nearly 100 mayors are taking part in a challenge to see which city can increase its immunization rate the most by July 4.
“All over the world,” Biden said, “people are desperate to get an injection that every American can get for free at their neighborhood pharmacy, right away. “
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