President Joe Biden set a new goal to have at least 70% of adults partially vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4.
WASHINGTON – Vice President Kamala Harris is traveling to Greenville, S.C., on Monday to kick off a national vaccination tour by top administration officials, pushing towards the goal of getting shots in the arms of 70% of U.S. adults by July 4.
She will end the week with a stop in Atlanta on June 18th, according to an administration official who provided the details first to USA TODAY.
First Lady Jill Biden, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and members of the cabinet are also hitting the road, making stops in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Louisiana throughout the week.
Officials will be dropping in on pop-up clinics, visiting churches and college campuses and engaging with historically underserved communities to encourage people to get vaccinated.
The tour is part of the Biden administration’s “month of action” announced last week to accelerate vaccination efforts.
In the first weekend, local organizations and COVID-19 community corps members held more than 1,000 events across the country in all 50 states.
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US Vice President Kamala Harris watches a health worker giving a Covid-19 vaccine to a woman at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas on March 15, 2021. – Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting Las Vegas Monday to promote the $1.9 trillion Ccovid relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan. (Photo: MANDEL NGAN, AFP via Getty Images)
While at least a dozen states have reached the goal President Joe Biden set of getting at least one shot into the arm of 70% of adults by next month, vaccination rates are lowest 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 free from fear of COVID and places where, when the fall arrives, death and severe illnesses return.”
The national rate is 64% among adults.
If shots continue at their current rate, the U.S. will fall short of Biden’s goal.
Efforts to pick up the pace include encouraging vaccine incentives like discounts or sweepstakes for vaccinated people. Some child care providers are offering free child care through July 4 to parents and caregivers who are getting vaccinated or recovering from vaccination, and many pharmacies are extending hours this month on Fridays to accommodate late-night vaccination times.
A “Shots at the Shop” initiative is bringing together 1,000 Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons across the nation to serve as vaccination locations.
Nearly 100 mayors are participating in a challenge to see which city can grow its vaccination rate the most by July 4th.
“All over the world,” Biden said, “people are desperate to get a shot that every American can get at their neighborhood drug store at no cost, with no wait.”
More: Daily update: Will America meet Biden’s Fourth of July vaccine goals?
More: In sprint to COVID-19 vaccine goal, Biden administration to team up with Black barbershops
Shagara Bradshaw, left, met Vice President Kamala Harris at a vaccination site in Jacksonville, Florida, on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Provided by Shagara Bradshaw)
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