© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the White House during the Independence Day celebration in Washington, United States, on July 4, 2021. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein / File Photo
By Andrea Shalal and Jeff Mason
(Reuters) – US President Joe Biden on Tuesday encouraged Americans who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the highly contagious and widely spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus. .
Biden told reporters that the United States will hit a mark of 160 million Americans who will be fully vaccinated by the end of this week, but cautioned against complacency as the Delta variant spreads among those who have not been vaccinated.
“Millions of Americans are not yet vaccinated or unprotected. And because of that, their communities are at risk, their friends are at risk, the people they care about are at risk,” Biden said. “This is an even bigger concern because of the Delta variant.”
Biden said the variant was already responsible for “half of all cases in many parts of this country.”
The Delta variant, which is becoming dominant in many countries, is more easily transmitted than previous versions of the coronavirus and can cause more serious illness, especially among younger people. It has now been found in every state in the US, health officials said.
Biden noted that studies have shown that since the beginning of May, virtually all COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths in the United States had occurred among people who were not vaccinated.
“Please get vaccinated now,” he said. “It works. It’s free. It’s never been easier and it’s never been more important.”
Biden said his administration would spend the rest of the summer vaccinating more people, including going door-to-door in neighborhoods to help more people who are not protected from the virus.
He said 42,000 local pharmacies would serve as vaccine sites. A renewed emphasis would be placed on bringing vaccines to family physicians and also to medical providers, including those who care for the very young.
Vaccines would also be available in workplaces, if possible, and more mobile clinics would be used to help out at summer festivals, sporting events, and places of worship.
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