WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday outlined the next stage of the U.S.'s COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan — a plan that prioritizes walk-in appointments at local pharmacies and pop-up clinics to make vaccinations easier for those who have not yet gotten the shot.
In remarks on Tuesday, Biden set a new goal for his vaccination effort — to have 70% of the U.S. adult population with at least one shot, and to have 160 million adults to be fully vaccinated by July 4.
"In two months, let's celebrate our independence as a nation with our independence from this virus," Biden said from the White House on Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, the CDC reports that 56% of the adult population has one shot of the vaccine, and about 105 million adults are fully vaccinated.
When asked if he thought the next phase of the rollout would be more difficult, Biden said he thought in one sense, it would be easier, as the difficult logistics of producing, purchasing and transporting vaccines are for the most part complete. However, he noted that the next phase is "beyond my control."
He still remains confident that those who remains skeptical about getting vaccinated will come around.
"I believe most people will be convinced by the fact that their failure to get the vaccine will cause other people will die," Biden said.
Also on Tuesday, Biden announced the launch of "vaccines.gov" — a website that will allow users to book a nearby vaccination appointment online.
The administration's new plan will also focus heavily on working with states and national pharmacy chains to encourage walk-in appointments for COVID-19 vaccines to make it easier for those who want to get vaccinated. The administration will also deploy community pop-up clinics to meet Americans where they live.
Biden will also allocate $250 million to community-based organizations and $250 million to state and local governments in the hopes of distributing more vaccines. He will also allocate $130 million to "improve vaccine education and information, and reduce health disparities in under-served communities."
Biden also added Wednesday that his administration is working with retail chains and sports leagues to offer deals and promotions for people who get vaccinated in the hopes making vaccinations more "fun."
As part of the new phase, the Biden administration will also tell states they will begin changing how COVID-19 vaccine shots are allocated, in response to some states showing a lower demand.
The administration had been sticking to a strict by-population allocation, but as demand for the coronavirus vaccines has dropped nationwide, some states are turning down part or all of their weekly dose allotments.
Arkansas officials declined their entire weekly share last week, according to the Washington Post.
The weekly allocations will still be determined by adult population, however states had been allowed to carryover unordered doses week-to-week in case they needed them in the coming weeks.
Some states have been leaving a significant number of unordered doses the last few weeks as demand drops.
It appears the White House will now put weekly unordered doses into a kind of federal holding place where states can ask for more depending on their local demand for vaccinations.