U.S. Surgeon General discusses Biden’s new vaccination goal: “Getting vaccines to rural health clinics is so important”

Fresh off his “100 Day Mask Challenge,” President Biden has a new milestone in fighting the pandemic. A major push to vaccinate Americans, especially in rural communities.

The White House sets a new goal to have 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one shot by the 4th of July, and another 160 million adults fully vaccinated. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is optimistic about reaching that milestone based on the number of shots currently going out.

“What this will require us to do is administer 100 million shots over the next 60 days and we’ve already delivered much more than that in the preceding days, earlier this year. We are getting closer to 250 million shots delivered,” according to Dr. Murthy.

Neither the CDC nor World Health Organization has put a percentage on the number of Americans who need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity, but as of this week, the CDC says that 44 percent of Americans have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. Dr. Murthy says that 70 percent puts Americans on the path back to business as usual.

“If we can get there, what that will mean is by July 4th we will have taken one giant step closer to resuming the activities that we all want to resume in our lives,” he states. “The ones that we miss from before the pandemic began and that’s the kind of the progress we need to see.

He says that improving access for rural communities is a priority, so the administration will not only increase the number of doses allocated to rural health centers but also invest $100 million dollars in 4,600 clinics across the country.

“We are expanding the number of mobile units. We’re getting the vaccine into primary care offices and providing both direct access to vaccines, as well as additional funding in rural health clinics so that our rural residents can get access to vaccines,” he explains. “These are the paths we will have to continue walking down together, giving people accurate information, easier access to the vaccines. That’s ultimately how I think we are ultimately going to meet the goal of ensuring 70 percent are vaccinated by July 4th.”

Another $860 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan will be directed to rural hospitals: “Funding and getting vaccines directly to rural health clinics is so important. It’s also why the President is announcing funding for rural hospitals as well so that they can not only support the broader effort around vaccination but also focus on testing and mitigation strategies.”

He says that the administration is working to tailor strategies specifically for rural areas, including mobile clinics and pop-up vaccine sites. They are also directing pharmacies to allow more walk-in appointments.

“If you are in an area where people are really spread out. If you are working long hours, whether it is on the farm, whether it is in a store, whether it’s in a government office or a medical clinic, you don’t always have the luxury of going to a pharmacy to get vaccinated on their schedule. You gotta go on your schedule, and so, that’s why some of the steps today will ease some of those access challenges,” he adds.

40,000 pharmacies are now offering vaccines. Click HERE to find a vaccination site or text your zip code to “GETVAX” (438829) for a list of the three closest locations.

For the full interview click HERE


Rural voters opinion on Biden’s first 60 days

Rural America at a glance: COVID-19’s impact on rural America

Dr. Fauci on COVID spikes and understanding the vaccine

Georgia is helping educate rural areas on the COVID vaccine