[guest post by Dana]
Yesterday, President Biden spoke about the need to reach more Americans for the Covid vaccine:
In a speech at the White House on Tuesday, Biden gave an update on the state of the U.S. vaccination program and ongoing efforts to reach parts of the country where skepticism of the vaccine still runs high.
“Now, we need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftentimes, door to door — literally knocking on doors — to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus,” Biden said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also detailed the components of the administration’s vaccine campaign at her briefing on Tuesday, including “targeted, community-by-community, door-to-door outreach to get remaining Americans vaccinated.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra echoed the President’s claim, and then went a step further:
“Perhaps we should point out that the federal government has spent trillions of dollars to try to keep Americans alive during this pandemic,” he told CNN in an interview.
“So it is absolutely the government’s business,” Becerra said. “It is taxpayers’ business, if we have to continue to spend money to try to keep people from contracting Covid and helping reopen the economy.”
The secretary also noted that “knocking on a door has never been against the law” and that Americans “don’t have to answer. But we hope you do.”
If the federal government wants to rile up Americans, just tell them that something is “their business”. Espcially someone like Xavier Becerra, as Californians here know. As you can imagine, the administration’s knock, knock comments raised the ire of Republicans:
How about don’t knock on my door.
You’re not my parents. You’re the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose.
Why is that concept so hard for the left? https://t.co/Fkv3kzNh6S
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) July 6, 2021
When the Biden admin calls for "targeted" "door-to-door outreach" to get people vaccinated, it comes across as a g-man saying: “We know you're unvaccinated, let’s talk, comrade.”
My bill to ban federal vaccine passports prohibits the feds from maintaining a vaccine database. pic.twitter.com/RJbtGLc8zN
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 8, 2021
Some Texas Republicans are pushing back against President Joe Biden’s push for greater outreach to get more Americans to receive COVID-19 shots, as vaccination drives in states like Texas have stagnated.
“Not on my watch!” Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted in response to the president’s comments on Tuesday that “we need to go community-by-community, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and oft times door-to-door, literally knocking on doors.”
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, a San Antonio Republican, on Wednesday directed a tweet at Biden with a play on the “Come and Take It” flag that shows an image of a syringe with the words “Come Inject It.” In a separate tweet, the congressman said he thought a door-to-door push would be unconstitutional, as such an approach was “only really contemplated in Constitution for the census.”
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) July 7, 2021
Late yesterday, Becerra pushed back against Republicans, saying that they were taking his comments out of context:
Some comments I made today are being taken wildly out of context. To be clear: government has no database tracking who is vaccinated. We’re encouraging people to step up to protect themselves, others by getting vaccinated. It’s the best way to save lives and end this pandemic.
Some comments I made today are being taken wildly out of context. To be clear: government has no database tracking who is vaccinated. We're encouraging people to step up to protect themselves, others by getting vaccinated. It's the best way to save lives and end this pandemic.
— Secretary Xavier Becerra (@SecBecerra) July 8, 2021
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients also pushed back on the purported mischaracterization of the door-to-door statement:
[He] warned against efforts to mischaracterize the door-to-door outreach, which is being conducted on a local level by doctors, faith leaders and other trusted community messengers in partnership with the administration.
“We’ve seen movement by going person by person, community by community in states where neighbors have contacted neighbors. This is important work that’s leading to more vaccinations and it’s done by people who care about the health of their family, friends and neighbors,” Zients said.
“So I would say for those individuals or organizations that are feeding misinformation and trying to mischaracterize this type of trusted messenger work, I believe you are doing a disservice to the country and to the doctors, the faith leaders, the community leaders and others who are working to get people vaccinated, save lives and help end this pandemic.”
Meanwhile, the about 67 percent of Americans 18 and older have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine and almost 60 percent are fully vaccinated.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reminded us what it would take to reach herd immunity levels:
What we know about coronavirus so far suggests that, if we were really to go back to a pre-pandemic lifestyle, we would need at least 70% of the population to be immune to keep the rate of infection down (“achieve herd immunity”) without restrictions on activities. But this level depends on many factors, including the infectiousness of the virus (variants can evolve that are more infectious) and how people interact with each other.
For example, when the population reduces their level of interaction (through distancing, wearing masks, etc.), infection rates slow down. But as society opens up more broadly and the virus mutates to become more contagious, infection rates will go up again. Since we are not currently at a level of protection that can allow life to return to normal without seeing another spike in cases and deaths, it is now a race between infection and injection.
Anyway, GET VACCINATED ALREADY so we can be done with this.