Governors meet with President Biden on new COVID-19 vaccination strategies as pace stalls

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WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — As the pace of COVID-19 shots stalls across the country, President Joe Biden announced additional measures Tuesday to help meet his new goal of delivering at least one dose to 70 percent of adults by July 4.

The incentives include free Uber and Lyft rides to and from vaccination sites from May 24 to July 4.

“That is really stepping up,” President Biden said during a virtual meeting with a bipartisan group of governors.

The president also announced a new initiative to host federally supported vaccination sites at community colleges and additional FEMA funds for community outreach efforts.

“We need to take the next step together,” he said.

President Biden praised the six governors in attendance for their efforts in helping fully vaccinate now more than 115 million Americans against COVID-19.

“Moms and dads, brothers and sisters, grandparents, neighbors, friends are still with us who, I believe, we otherwise would have lost but for the work of these governors,” he said.

Gov. Mike DeWine, R-OH,  said his state greatly expanded access to shots by prioritizing walk-up and mobile clinics.

“We want to reach people exactly where they are,” DeWine said.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-NM, said her state utilized data, especially through Medicaid, to ensure equitable access to the vaccine.

“To make sure we close the gap every single day,” Lujan Grisham said.

The nation’s vaccination rate has slowed dramatically in recent weeks. The CDC reports about 730,000 Americans are now receiving their first dose each day, compared to nearly two million a month ago.

“We’re taking out all of the excuses to not get vaccinated,” said Gov. Spencer Cox, R-UT.

Cox said many in his state aren’t vaccine hesitant, rather they just haven’t gotten around to it yet. To motivate them, he called on the president to update guidance on what fully vaccinated people can do.

“We’ve gone a little slower to make sure we’re exactly right,” President Biden responded.

The administration expects the CDC to release new guidance soon. In the meantime, Americans who still haven’t been vaccinated can now text their zip code to 438829 to receive at least three locations near them with vaccines in stock. They can also visit vaccines.org for more information.

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