White House press secretary Jen Psaki “doesn’t recommend” that President Joe Biden regularly answer questions from the media.
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden announced a partnership with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to vaccination sites to help meet his target of 70% of U.S. adults getting at least one vaccine shot by July 4.
The president announced the partnership, along with other steps the administration is taking to encourage Americans to get vaccinated, at a virtual meeting with a bipartisan group of governors Tuesday afternoon. The feature is expected to launch May 24 and run through July 4.
“I think that is really stepping up,” Biden said. ”
Biden unveiled a partnership to open vaccination sites at the nation’s largest community colleges to provide shots for students, staff and local residents throughout May and June.
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The president also made funding from his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which was signed into law in March, immediately available to state, territorial, Tribal and local governments to promote community outreach and to assist people in getting vaccinated.
State and local community leaders can use the billions in funding, which will be provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for vaccine education efforts, contacting residents to fill vaccination appointments and working with employers to get their employees vaccinated off-site or by setting up a pop-up vaccination clinic at work.
“This will help states thrive … territories, local governments and community and faith-based organizations to make more progress on the ground,” Biden said.
In March, Lyft partnered with non-profit groups including United Way Worldwide, the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, the NAACP, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Down Syndrome Society to fund rides to help people in low-income communities get inoculated.
As supply begins to outpace demand, the White House has stepped up efforts with an eye toward getting 160 million U.S. adult fully vaccinated by the Fourth of July.
More than 58% of U.S. adults – and 46% of the population – has received at least one shot, and nearly 35% of the country is fully vaccinated. However, the pace of first-dose vaccinations has fallen 60% in just the last month, a USA TODAY analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.
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Biden is meeting virtually with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Maine Gov. Janet Mills, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to share best practices of how they’ve encouraged residents to get vaccinated.
“Governors in so many states, particularly the six that are here, have been essential partners in this effort and they know it isn’t about politics. It’s about saving lives and livelihoods, rebuilding our economy and getting us back to our way of life,” Biden said.
Just 11% of American adults who remain unvaccinated say they definitely will get the shot, while 34% say they definitely won’t, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Another 27% say they probably will and 27% say they probably won’t.
Gov. Mills discussed offering incentives for Maine’s residents, including free fishing or hunting licenses, gift cards from retailers like L.L. Bean or free tickets to the state’s minor league baseball team, the Portland Sea Dogs.
Gov. Walz said his state plans to offer shots to fans at Tuesday night’s opening game for its minor league baseball team, the St. Paul Saints.
“Go get vaccinated so you’re alive to vote against me in the next election. I don’t care. I just want to get in done,” Gov. Walz said.
More than half of all residents in Massachusetts, Maine and New Mexico have gotten at least one shot, ranking those states in the top 10. Ohio and Utah are in the bottom half of states for vaccination rates.
Gov. Cox pointed out his state has one of the youngest populations in the country as to why Utah’s vaccination rate is so low but said his state has launched a public information campaign to help people understand what a fully vaccinated person could do – from hugging grandparents to attending a Utah Jazz basketball game.
Biden told Cox states could expect more guidance from the CDC on what vaccinated people can do once they’re fully protected.
“I think you’re gonna see a more aggressive effort on our part to lay out that, once vaccinated, it’s not only you can hug your grandchildren, you can do a lot more,” he said.
Contributing: Maureen Groppe, Jorge L. Ortiz and John
President Joe Biden says so far there is “no evidence” that Russia was involved in the ransomware cyberattack that hit a major U.S. pipeline. Biden said his administration is investigating and working to mitigate any impact to U.S. fuel supply. (May 10)
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