White House encourages Americans to get vaccinated
Throughout June, the Biden administration has worked to make it easier for Americans to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. As of June 22, 42.1% of Georgians eligible to receive the vaccination (all persons ages 12 and up) had received at least one dose, according to data from the Mayo Clinic. Nationwide, 53.5% of those eligible have received at least one dose.
President Joe Biden announced a “Month of Action” on June 2, with the goal of reaching at least a 70% one-dose vaccination rate, spurred in part by the expansion of the coronavirus delta variant.
“What we know about this variant is that it appears to be more transmissible and is associated with increased severe disease like hospitalizations compared to other variants,” White House Vaccinations Coordinator Bechara Choucair told GFB media. “The good news, though, is that we know that two doses of the mRNA vaccines are effective against the Delta variant.
Dr. Choucair pointed out that while COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths have declined significantly, there is still risk of infection for people who are not vaccinated.
“You can still get the disease, you can still get hospitalizations from it, and unfortunately we’re still having some people die from COVID-19,” Choucair said. “The best path to protect yourself protect your family and protect your community, getting us back to a sense of normalcy, is through vaccination.”
Choucair acknowledged that people are asking legitimate questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, including:
- Are the vaccines safe? “Yes, they are.”
- Were they developed too fast? “No, they weren’t. That technology has been researched and studied and developed over the last two decades.”
- Are they going to have any side effects on fertility? “We don’t have any evidence that fertility issues are side effects to the vaccine.”
- Is the vaccine safe to take while you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant? “We have literally hundreds or thousands of pregnant women who got vaccinated, and it doesn’t appear that there are any serious concerns there, and the CDC is continuing to track that.”
The Month of Action includes a “We Can Do This” national vaccination tour led by Vice President Kamala Harris to highlight the ease of getting vaccinated, encourage vaccinations, and energize and mobilize grassroots vaccine education and outreach efforts. Harris stopped in Atlanta on June 18 as part of the tour.
While encouraging people to get vaccinated, the administration has worked with public and private organizations to remove barriers to vaccination. Choucair noted that pharmacies have stayed open for extended hours, ride-share services Uber and Lyft have provided free transportation to and from vaccination sites, and free child care is available, through federal emergency funding, to allow parents to receive vaccinations. Private businesses and local and state governments have offered incentives to reward vaccine recipients.
“We are pulling out all the stops here to get as many people vaccinated as we can moving toward the fourth of July,” Choucair said.
For information about where to get a COVID-19 vaccination, visit www.vaccines.gov/.