President Joe Biden is pushing new vaccination strategies after falling short of his goal of seeing 70 percent of all adult Americans with at least one shot by July 4.
According to the CDC, approximately 67 percent of Americans 18 and older have had at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Following a briefing by his COVID-19 Task Force, the President laid out, in general terms, a shift in strategy for getting those with vaccine hesitancy in Oklahoma and across the country to get vaccinated.
"It sounds corny," President Biden said, "but it's the patriotic thing to do.”
Appealing to love of country, love of family and friends, and love of self, Biden urged those hesitant to roll up their sleeves to wait no longer.
"Study after study after study has shown that since early May virtually every COVID-19 hospitalization and death in the United States has been among the unvaccinated,” Biden said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top epidemiologist, said Sunday that 99.2 percent of all deaths in the month of June were among people who were not vaccinated, calling the loss of life “avoidable and preventable.”
With the country now mostly open, people traveling again, and a sense of normalcy returning, epidemiologists like Fauci worry that those who haven't been vaccinated may feel less pressure to go through with it. But they warn that the spread of the more contagious Delta variant makes that very risky.
Biden said it was time to shift the strategy.
"Now we need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood and often times door to door," the President explained, "literally knocking on doors to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus."
Oklahoma has slipped from being among the top ten states in the country in vaccination rate at the beginning of the year to the bottom 10, with fewer than 60 percent of citizens having had at least one shot, and less then forty percent fully vaccinated.
The state's congressional delegation are all vaccinated, but one member, Sen. Jim Inhofe, said President Biden and his administration have politicized the vaccination program by dropping the name given to it by the Trump administration and by failing to recognize its origin.
In an editorial that appeared last weekend in the Washington Post, Sen. Inhofe wrote, “…he should give credit where it’s due: former president Donald Trump and the Trump administration program that made it possible, Operation Warp Speed…”
President Biden has said, on numerous occasions, that the decision to get vaccinated should have nothing to do with politics. And Tuesday, he urged everyone to do it.
"It works. it's free and it's never been easier," Biden said, "and it's never been more important."
An administration spokesperson said the new strategy, in addition to door-to-door outreach, will also include setting up more vaccination clinics at work sites and expanding the use of mobile clinics.