Press Briefing by White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials 8 May

The White House

Via Teleconference

10:37 A.M. EDT

MR. ZIENTS: Good morning, and thank you for joining us. Today, Dr. Walensky will provide an update on the state of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci will highlight the latest science, and Dr. Murthy will share an update on our efforts to strengthen confidence in the vaccines.

First, I want to provide an update on the progress we are making on vaccinations and our all-out efforts in the next phase of getting more vaccinations to Americans.

After delivering an unprecedented 220 million shots in the President’s first 100 days and successfully getting shots in the arms to the bulk of those most at risk and those most eager to get vaccinated, we are far ahead of where anyone thought we would be in our war against the virus.

Importantly, as we continue to vaccinate more people, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to fall. This vaccination campaign is curbing the spread of COVID-19, saving tens of thousands of lives, and allowing millions to start living life more normally once again. That’s why it’s so important that we keep pushing for continued progress.

In this next phase, we’re implementing a strategy that uses all the resources at our disposal to reach those who still need protection from this virus. Our approach and the pace of progress will look different as we reach deeper into communities and take an even more localized approach.

Earlier this week, the President set a new goal for this next phase of the vaccination program: 70 percent of adult Americans with at least one shot and 160 million Americans fully vaccinated by July 4 — Independence Day. That’s roughly 100 million shots in 60 days between May 4th and July 4th.

As you can see on our vaccination report, 57 percent of adult Americans now have at least one shot. So to meet the President’s goal of 70 percent of adult Americans with at least one shot, we need to vaccinate at least another 13 percent of adult Americans by July 4th.

Overall, by the end of today, we will hit two significant milestones in our vaccination program: 150 million Americans with at least their first shot and 110 million Americans fully vaccinated. Our wartime effort is mobilized to meet the President’s goal, and we’re in all-out implementation and execution mode.

We’re focused on three key areas: First, improving access and making it even easier for everyone to get vaccinated. Second, building confidence — vaccine confidence — by empowering every American with facts and answering their questions. And third, ensuring equity is at the center of everything we do.

To improve access and make it even easier and more convenient for Americans to get their shot, this week the President directed our Federal Pharmacy partners to start making no-appointment walk-up vaccinations available. Soon, Americans will be able to get vaccinated without an appointment at the vast majority of nearly 40,000 local pharmacy locations nationwide.

Already, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart and Sam’s Club, Meijer and Hy-Vee, Southeastern, and H-E-B have announced that they’re offering walk-up vaccinations at all of their locations nationwide — more than 20,000 stores in communities across the country.

And to reach people where they are, FEMA is shifting from the high-volume vaccination sites that have served so many Americans so well to smaller, community-based sites and expanding the number of mobile clinics.

This week, we also made significant investments to get Americans the information they need on vaccines. Dr. Murthy will discuss this progress in his remarks. And we advanced equity by taking important steps to bolster our response for Americans living in rural communities, including by sending vaccine doses directly to an even greater number of rural health clinics and deploying almost $1 billion of American Rescue Plan funding to enhance and expand vaccine access and education and COVID-19 testing and mitigation in rural America.

The President also announced that should the FDA issue in emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals ages 12 to 15, we already have in place the operational public education plan to immediately hit the ground running.

Over 15,000 local pharmacies will be ready to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds. And we are working to get more pediatricians and family doctors to offer vaccinations in their offices to make it as easy and convenient for adolescents to get vaccinated.

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