White House to shift COVID-19 vaccine to states with more need

Biden to set goal for 70% of U.S. adults to have one shot of vaccine by July 4

"You do need to get vaccinated", Biden said from the White House. "It could save your life or the lives of somebody you love".

During a press briefing, a senior Biden aide said the administration estimated that reaching each goal would require administering about another 100 million doses to adults in the next two months, roughly three-quarters of the current pace.

Biden's speech comes as the White House announced a shift away from a strict by-population allocation of vaccines.

US officials are gearing up to administer vaccines to adolescents once approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

-Adolescents aged 12-15, once federal authorities approve vaccination for that age group.

-Adults who need more convincing to take the vaccine. Grocery chain Kroger is offering a $100 (£72) store credit to employees who are vaccinated and vehicle parts company AutoZone is offering $100 to customers who have had their shots.

He also said he is in discussions with business and sports organizations about providing incentives to people to get their shots. "Things like ticket giveaways, in-stadium vaccinations, discounts on merchandise and other creative ways to make it easier and more fun to get vaccinated", he said.

The long-simmering issue exploded in recent weeks as the United States administered hundreds of millions of shots to its own citizens as other countries, including India, reeled from the worsening global coronavirus outbreak. Officials hope that extending vaccinations to teens - who would be eligible to get the first dose in one location and the second elsewhere - will further accelerate the nation's reduced virus caseload and allow schools to reopen with minimal disruptions this fall.

"The light at the end of the tunnel is actually growing brighter and brighter", Biden said.

Vaccines have been allocated state by state based on population - a formula the Biden administration held to even as some states such as MI saw increases in coronavirus infections.

While the White House has pledged to donate millions of vaccine doses and supplies to India, "that is not enough".

Biden will announce that the administration is making almost $1.5 billion in funds from the coronavirus rescue package available for community organizations, rural health clinics, and state and local governments as part of the push to increase vaccination and testing rates in underserved areas.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Louisiana's coronavirus vaccination rate is well behind most states. He noted that over 80 percent of Americans over the age of 65 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and said there has been no difference in rates across ethnic and racial minority groups in that age bracket.

As part of their announcement, Biden aides also highlighted a number of funding opportunities aimed at bolstering vaccine access and confidence in local communities, part of a previously reported, $1.5 billion effort to encourage immunizations nationwide. Biden rebuffed Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last month when she requested more doses as her state was experiencing a surge in virus cases.

"They can still order ... up to their full allocation based on population", Psaki said.

Arkansas officials declined their entire weekly share last week, according to the Washington Post.



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