President Joe Biden on Tuesday will provide an update on his administration’s Covid-19 vaccination efforts as the highly contagious Delta variant rips across the country, a White House official tells CNN.
Biden will speak about recent actions by the private sector to require vaccinations, the uptick in vaccinations in recent days “and the tremendous grassroots work Americans are doing every day to get their communities vaccines,” the official said.
The President will also provide an update on his administration’s global vaccination efforts and will announce the US has shipped more than 110 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to more than 60 countries, according to the White House. The White House notes this is more vaccine donations than all other countries combined.
Biden will note that the work to vaccinated the rest of the world “has just begun,” according to the official. Starting at the end of this month, the Biden administration will begin shipping 500 million Pfizer doses that the US has pledged to purchase and donate to 100 low-income countries.
The Delta variant, which can cause more severe illness than Covid-19, is quickly spreading in areas of the country with low vaccination rates and is threatening to derail much of the progress the nation has made in combating the pandemic. Hospitals are once again filling up with patients as the virus tears through the unvaccinated population.
But vaccination rates are improving amid the skyrocketing cases and hospitalizations. The White House on Monday announced that 70% of US adults had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine — a big milestone they had initially hoped to achieve by July Fourth. A little less than 50% of the US population has been fully vaccinated.
Vaccination rates are increasing in states with the highest cases, according to the White House, with the eight states with the highest current case rates having seen an average increase of 171% in the number of people newly vaccinated each day over the past three weeks.
The surge in Covid-19 cases spurred the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue new masking guidance for vaccinated Americans and communities across the country are seeing Covid-19 restrictions being put back in place to slow the spread of the virus.
The US has also seen a sharp rise in the number of government and private sector employers pushing vaccinations for those who want to return to the workplace.
Biden announced last week that all federal employees must attest to being vaccinated against Covid-19 or face strict protocols including regular testing, masking and other mitigation measures. These requirements will apply to military and civilian Defense Department personnel, and the department is also considering adding Covid-19 vaccines to the list of required vaccines for military personnel, the Pentagon said.
The White House had previously indicated it would support private companies’ decisions to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations, but Biden took it a step further last week and said he would like to see companies, states and schools move in the direction of requiring Covid-19 vaccinations.
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