President Joe Biden said Tuesday that his administration will go door-to-door to vaccinate people in the administration’s renewed vaccination push, The New York Times reports.
Biden said the administration would also set up clinics at workplaces and urge companies to offer paid time off to get more people vaccinated.
“Please get vaccinated now. It works. It’s free,” Biden said Tuesday. “It’s never been easier, and it’s never been more important. Do it now for yourself and the people you care about, for your neighborhood, for your country. It sounds corny, but it’s a patriotic thing to do.”
The push comes as the highly contagious Delta variant becomes the dominant strain inside the US.
Less than half of the US population is fully vaccinated and rates have plunged in parts of the South and Midwest. The country administered about 870,000 vaccines per day this week, a steep decline from over 3 million daily doses in April.
Experts say it’s not enough:
Medical experts said Biden’s approach was not enough as the country faces a potential surge in infections among the vaccinated.
“I’m trying to restrain myself, but I’ve kind of had it,” Kathleen Sebelius, who served as health secretary under Obama, told the Times. “You know, we’re going to tiptoe around mandates. It’s like, come on. I’m kind of over that. I want to make sure that people I deal with don’t have it so I don’t transmit it to my granddaughter.”
The administration has rejected calls for vaccine requirements or vaccine passports.
“I like to say a mandate is legal, ethical and efficacious,” Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a Biden adviser, told the outlet. “Ultimately, workplaces are probably going to have to.”
Lack of mandates:
Though some organizations have required vaccinations, states are yet to require vaccines for health workers or children.
Biden allies have warned him against getting involved in local decisions or risk political backlash.
“You just have to be realistic about what’s possible,” Emanuel said. “If the federal government does it, there’s going to be a ton of backlash. It’s going to be a political event. If private industry does it, it’s like, ‘OK, that’s private industry, that’s what we’re founded on.’”
Experts worry that vaccine passports would inevitably become politicized too.
“There is so much toxic politics around Covid that it’s constraining sensible action,” former CDC chief Tom Frieden told the Times. “Obviously it makes sense to require proof of vaccination in various settings, but that has become a political lightning rod.”