South Court Auditorium Washington D.C. June 2 1:41 P.M. EDT
Good afternoon. Today, the Vice President and I would like to lay out our plan for June, to counter — continue, I should say, our successful fight against the pandemic as we approach the July 4th date.
In just four months, thanks to the American people, we have made incredible progress getting people vaccinated quickly, efficiently, and equitably. Nearly 170 million Americans of every party, every background, every walk of life have stepped up, rolled up their sleeves, and gotten the shot.
Fifty-two percent of adults are now fully vaccinated, including seventy-five percent of all seniors. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have achieved 50 percent of adults being fully vaccinated in their jurisdictions.
And it's clearer than ever: The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we're going to have in our fight against this virus.
Since January 20 — and we're talking, now, about 15  months — the average daily cases are down from 184,000 to 19,000, below 20,000 for the first time since March of 2020. Average hospitalizations are down from 117,000 to 21,000. Death rates are down over 85 percent.
And this didn't just happen by chance. We got to this moment because we took aggressive action from day one with a whole-of-government response. We used every lever at our disposal to get this done.
We experienced the production and expanded it in a significant way: in lifesaving vaccines available for every single American. They're available, and we knew that was the case months ago.
We worked with cities and states to create over 80,000 vaccination sites. We deployed over 9,000 federal staff, including 5,100 active-duty troops to help get shots in arms. Now, as a result, we have built a world-class vaccination program.
I promised you we'd marshal a wartime effort to defeat this virus, and that's just what we've been doing.
And now, tens of millions of Americans have been vaccinated. They're able to return to closer to a — closer-to-normal life.
Fully vaccinated people are safely shredding [shedding] their masks and greeting one another with a smile. Grandparents are hugging their grandkids again. Small-business owners are reopening storefronts and restaurants.
Because of the vaccination strategy, our economic strategy, we're — experienced the strongest economic recovery this country has seen in decades.
There is a group called the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development — OECD — which includes most of the world's largest economies in its membership. They've been one of those leading bodies analyzing economic growth across — around the world for 60 years.
Just this week, they increased their projection for the U.S. economic growth this year to 6.9 percent — 6.9 percent. That's the fastest pace in nearly four decades. And that's because of our vaccination program and our economic response, which, alone, are adding 3 to 4 percentage points to our growth; driving stronger growth not just there — not just this year, but in years to come.
In fact, America is the only major country where global forecasters have actually increased their five-year forecasts for economic growth since January of 2020.
And because of that, America is headed into the summer dramatically different from last year's summer: a summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get-togethers and celebrations. An all-American summer that this country deserves after a long, long, dark winter that we've all endured.
But what happens after the summer? The data could not be clearer: For all the progress we're making as a country, if you are unvaccinated, you are still at risk of getting seriously ill or dying, or spreading disease to others, especially when Americans spend more time indoors again, closely gathered in the fall, as — and as we face the potential threat of a new, more dangerous variants.
Even now, if you look at the areas of the country where vaccination rates are the highest, the death — the death rates are dramatically falling. They — the vaccines are effective; they're effective against the variants currently circulating in the United States. On the other hand, COVID deaths are unchanged in many parts of our country that are lagging behind in vaccinations.
And for young people who may think this doesn't affect you, listen up, please: This virus, even a mild case, can be with you for months. It will impact on your social life. It could have long-term implications for your health that we don't even know about yet or fully understand yet.
It's true that young people are much less likely to die from COVID. But if you do not get vaccinated, you could get COVID sooner or later. But you could get COVID still.
A substantial percentage of people with COVID, even young people, will suffer illnesses, and some will have long-term health impacts as a consequence.
If you're thinking that the side effects from the shot are worse than the COVID, or that you can't just take a chance, you are just dead wrong.
Do it for yourself. Do it to protect those more vulnerable than you: your friends, you family, your community.
You know, some people have questions about how quickly the vaccines were developed. They say they've been developed so quickly, they can't be that good. Well, here's what you need to know: Vaccines were developed over a decade of research in similar viruses, and they've gone through strict FDA clinical trials.
The bottom line is this — I promise you: They are safe. They are safe. And even more importantly, they're extremely effective.
And if you're vaccinated, you are protected. If you are not vaccinated, you are not protected.
Places with high vaccination rates will also see fewer cases of COVID moving forward. Places with lower vaccination rates are going to see more.
You know, we were elected to be President and Vice President for all Americans. And I don't want to see the country that is already too divided become divided in a new way — between places where people live free from fear of COVID and places where, when the fall arrives, death and severe illnesses return.
The vaccine is free, it's safe, and it's effective. Getting the vaccine is not a partisan act. The science was done under Democratic and Republican administrations. Matter of fact, the first vaccines were authorized under a Republican President and widely developed by a Democratic President — deployed by a Democratic President.
All over the world, people are desperate to get a shot that every American can get at their neighborhood drug store at no cost, with no wait.
Every American over 12 years of age — no matter where you live, what you believe, who you voted for — has the right to get vaccinated. It's your choice.
So, please, exercise your freedom, live without fear. We need to be one America, united — free from fear this fall.
Now, how will we keep beating this virus as we enter — as we enter the fall after summer? On May 4, I asked Americans to come together to get 70 percent of adults with one shot by July 4th — 70 percent at least with one shot. To date, 12 states have already reached this important milestone. We expect — we expect more to make this milestone this week.
Nationally, we are at 63 percent of adults with one shot. And we are getting closer, but we still have work to do. With 73 percent of Americans over the age of 40 with one shot, and as — we especially need people under 40 to step up. Over 40 is doing much better.
That's why, today, we're announcing a month-long effort to pull all the stops — all the stops to free ourselves from this virus and get to 70 percent of adult Americans vaccinated.
Now, I'm going to take everyone — you know, it's going to take everyone — everyone — the federal government; the state governments; local, Tribal, and territorial governments; the private sector; and, most importantly, the American people — to get to the 70 percent mark so we can declare our independence from COVID-19 and free ourselves from the grip it has held over us — our lives for the better part of a year.
Each of you has the power to help us gain this freedom as a nation. If you get a shot this week, you can be fully vaccinated by July 4th — by the week of July the 4th. And you can celebrate Independence Day free from fear or worry.
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