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White House defends door-to-door vaccine push

The White House defended its effort to go ‘door-to-door’ to distribute vaccine information after some prominent Republicans hammered the plan. 

‘What we’re doing is local officials are going to areas where there are lower vaccination rates and providing information on where people can get access to a vaccine, where they can go, that it’s free, that they can take time off of work,’ press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday aboard Air Force One. ‘It’s up to individuals to decide whether they want to get vaccinated or not.’ 

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden spoke about the effort in a speech where he pushed unvaccinated Americans to get their jabs as the worrisome delta variant of COVID-19 spreads. 

Press secretary Jen Psaki, photograhed at Tuesday’s briefing, said aboard Air Force One Wednesday that ‘it’s up to individuals to decide whether they want to get vaccinated or not,’ after conservatives complained that President Joe Biden talked about going ‘door-to-door’ 

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene again compared the Biden coronavirus response to Nazi Germany saying the government would be like the Nazi party's 'brown shirts' going door-to-door

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene again compared the Biden coronavirus response to Nazi Germany saying the government would be like the Nazi party’s ‘brown shirts’ going door-to-door

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican, responded to Biden's comments by saying, 'You're not my parents. You're the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose'

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican, responded to Biden’s comments by saying, ‘You’re not my parents. You’re the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose’ 

Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, another far-right Republican, said of Biden's plan that the 'government now wants to go door-to-door to convince you to get an "optional" vaccine'

Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, another far-right Republican, said of Biden’s plan that the ‘government now wants to go door-to-door to convince you to get an “optional” vaccine’ 

‘Now we need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood and oftentimes door-to-door – literally knocking on doors – to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus,’ Biden said. 

The White House aims to get one shot in the arm of 70 per cent of Americans 18 and older, a Fourth of July goal that the administration missed. By the Fourth, 70 per cent of Americans 27 and up had gotten their first vaccine shot.  

Conservatives viewed Biden’s ‘door-to-door’ quote as government intrusion.   

‘How about don’t knock on my door. You’re not my parents. You’re the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose. Why is that concept so hard for the left?’ tweeted Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican. 

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, again tied the Biden’s administration’s coronavirus response to Nazi Germany. 

‘Biden pushing a vaccine that is NOT FDA approved shows covid is a political tool used to control people,’ she tweeted Tuesday afternoon. ‘People have a choice, they don’t need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations.’ 

The term ‘brown shirt’ comes from the official uniform of the SA or Sturmabteilung, the Nazi party’s paramilitary unit.  

‘You can’t force people to be part of the human experiment,’ Greene added. 

The three COVID-19 vaccines being used in the United States – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – have been approved by the FDA for emergency use, but haven’t received full FDA approval. 

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, tweeted, ‘The government now wants to go door-to-door to convince you to get an “optional” vaccine.’ 

On board Air Force One, Psaki was asked by a reporter what the White House’s reaction was to how the door-to-door comment was interpreted by the ‘far-right sphere.’ 

‘Let me tell you what this is and what it is not. What this effort is is a continuation of what we have seen as an impactful effort that we’ve had by local public health officials and volunteers in a range of communities over the last month of action,’ she began. 

Psaki used red states like Florida and Mississippi as examples of where there have been improvements in vaccine rates.  

‘But what we’ve seen as a barrier all along, for months, has been access and information, and so we’re going to continue to deploy the tactic – tactics that we’ve seen effective over the last few months,’ she continued. 

Psaki also said ‘that’s not currently the role of the federal government’ to push for the COVID-19 vaccine to be mandatory. 

‘Our role is to provide supply, provide information, provide public health experts,’ she said. 

The press secretary also said that the U.S. government was ‘not taking issue’ with private institutions, like universities, mandating vaccines.  

A reporter then pointed out that the government is ‘trapped between the people who are saying, “You need to do more; you need to mandate or you’re just not going to reach people,” and the people who are saying, “Oh, my God. The government is going to mandate this.” 

‘It seems like you’re kind of stuck in the middle,’ the journalist offered. 

Psaki agreed. 

‘Sure,’ she answered. ‘But I think what we continue to remember is what constructive role we can play as the federal government, and that includes continuing to use resources to get out into communities; to empower public health officials; to get accurate information out; to ensure people understand … that 50 per cent of the … cases are now, as a result of the delta variant, higher in areas where there are lower vaccination rates.’    

‘That is the role where we’re going to spend our energy and our resources,’ Psaki added.  


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