Jun 2, 2021
Joe Biden COVID-19 Response & Vaccine Distribution Speech Transcript June 2
President Joe Biden gave an update on the U.S. COVID-19 response and vaccination distribution on June 2, 2021. Read the transcript of his speech briefing here.
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President Joe Biden: (00:00)
… against the pandemic as we approached the July 4th date. In just four months, thanks to the American people, we’ve made incredible progress in 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. 52% of adults are now fully vaccinated including 75% of all seniors. 28 states, and the District of Columbia have achieved 50% of adults being fully vaccinated in their jurisdictions. And it’s clear 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 ago, 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%.
President Joe Biden: (01:20)
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 life-saving 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 the shots in arms. And as a result, we built a world-class vaccination program. I promised you we’d marshal a war time effort to defeat this virus and that’s just what we’ve doing. And now, tens of millions of Americans have been vaccinated. They’re able to return to closer to normal life.
President Joe Biden: (02:24)
Fully vaccinated people are safely shredding 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’s a group called the Organisation for 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 around the world for 60 years. Just this week, they increased their projection for the US economic growth this year to 6.9%, 6.9%. That’s the fastest pace in nearly four decades. And that’s because our vaccination program and our economic response, which alone are adding three to four percentage points to our growth driving stronger growth, not just this year, but in years to come.
President Joe Biden: (03:36)
In fact, America’s the only major country where global forecasters have actually increased their five-year forecast 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. What happens after the summer? The data could not be clear. 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 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 rates are dramatically falling.
President Joe Biden: (04:47)
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, the 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.
President Joe Biden: (05:42)
And 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’re just dead wrong. Do it for yourself, do it to protect those more vulnerable than you; your friends, your family, your community. Some people have questions about how quickly the vaccines were developed. They says they’ve been developed so quickly they can’t be that good. Well, here’s what you need to know. Vaccines are 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. 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. Place with lower vaccination rates, they’re going to see more.
President Joe Biden: (06:47)
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 and 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 deployed by a Democratic president. All over the world people are desperate to get a shot that every American you can get it through a 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.
President Joe Biden: (07:58)
We need to be one America, united, free from fear this fall. Now, how will we keep beating this virus as we enter the fall, after summer? On May 4 I asked Americans to come together to get 70% of adults with one shot by July 4th. 70% at least with one shot. To date, 12 states have already reached this important milestone. We expect more to make this milestone this week. Nationally, we’re at 63% of adults with one shot and we’re getting closer. We still have work to do with 73% 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% of adult Americans vaccinated.
President Joe Biden: (09:07)
It was 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% mark so we can declare 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. This effort has five key parts. First, we’re making it easier than ever to get vaccines. 90% of you live within five miles of a vaccination site. The vaccinations are free and most places allow walk-up vaccination, no appointment needed. You can go to vaccines.gov or text your zip code to 438829 to get a text back with the places you can get a shot that are close by. And now we’re going to make it even easier.
President Joe Biden: (10:27)
In response to our call to action, businesses and organizations across the country have stepped up, tell everyone get vaccinated. Starting next week many vaccination sites will be offering extended hours during the month of June including pharmacies that will be open 24 hours every Friday night. For 24 hours they’ll be open, this month. And if you’re too busy at work or school, you can get vaccinated around the clock any Friday, any Friday. For parents who haven’t been able to get the shot because they didn’t have the childcare, starting today, KinderCare, Learning Care Group, the Bright Horizons alongside with hundreds of YMCA locations are going to offer free drop-in childcare while the parents are getting vaccinated. In addition, Uber and Lyft are both offering free rides to and from vaccination sites, vaccination centers.
President Joe Biden: (11:30)
It’s easier than ever to get vaccinated. So again, text 438829 to find out what the nearest places you can get vaccinated are from where your zip code and visit pharmacies with an extended hour and walk up shots that are available; free childcare, free rides, free shots. Second, we’re going to reduce our outreach and public education efforts. We’re going to relaunch them in effect. We’re going to launch a national vaccination tour to encourage people to take the shot. The Vice-President’s going to lead that tour across the South and the Midwest where we still have millions of people to vaccinate. She’s going to be joined by the first lady and the second gentlemen and cabinet secretaries along the way. In the spirit of meeting people where they are, we’ll also be working with Black Coalition Against COVID and other organizations to launch a new initiative called shots at the shop.
President Joe Biden: (12:35)
Barbershops, beauty shops are hubs of activity information in black and brown communities in particular, but in many communities across the nation. Local barbers, stylist, they become key advocates for vaccinations in their communities, offering information to customers, booking appointments for them even using their own businesses as vaccination sites. We’re going to work with shops across the country to make an even bigger impact over the next this month. We’ll also kick things off this weekend with a national canvasing weekend where thousands of volunteers will be out knocking on doors and encourage their communities to get vaccinated. And mayors, mayors will be stepping up even more over the next month and partnering with us on the city vaccination challenge to see which city can grow its vaccination rate the fastest, the most by July 4th. We need you to join these efforts. This is the kind of on the groundwork is going to get the job done.
President Joe Biden: (13:41)
Third, we’ll be increasing our work with employers, employers. A lot of working people are holding back because they’re concerned about losing pay if they take time off to get a shot, or if they don’t feel well the next day. I’ve said before, for small and medium size employers, if you give people paid time off to get a shot, you’ll get a tax credit to cover that cost. Already millions of workers across the country are eligible for paid time off and incentives from their employers. I’m asking all employers, do the right thing. We’re making it easy for employers to set up on the job vaccination clinics to make it even more convenient for the employees to get a shot. Fourth, we’re going to continue encouraging people to get vaccinated with incentives and fun rewards. The State of Ohio had a heck of a fun reward, a new millionaire last week thanks to the creative idea of the governor for holding a vaccine lottery. The grocery store Kroger’s announced that they’re going to give away $1 million each week to someone who gets vaccinated in one of their pharmacies.
President Joe Biden: (15:01)
The NBA, the NHL, NASCAR, NASCAR tracks, they’re offering vaccines outside playoff games and in races. Major League Baseball will be offering free tickets to people who get vaccinated at the ballpark. And to top it off, Anheuser-Busch announced that beer is on them on July the 4th. That’s right, get a shot and have a beer. Free beer for everyone 21 years or over to celebrate the independence from the virus. Fifth and finally, we’re asking the American people to help. We need you. We need you to get your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers vaccinated. Help them find an appointment. Drive them to the site. Talk to them about why you made the choice for yourself. So many Americans have already stepped up to help get their communities vaccinated. And over the next month, we’re going to need you more than ever. We need every American to commit to the five actions I mentioned this month. Go to wecandothis.hhs.gov.
President Joe Biden: (16:12)
Wecandothis.hhs.gov to sign up to volunteer and learn more about how you can help. Take at least five actions to help in June and you might even be invited to visit us at the White House in July to celebrate independence together. I’ll close with this, we need everyone across the country to pull together, to get us over the finish line. I promise you we can do this. Just look at what we’ve already done, we’ve already accomplished together in only four months. We know it for a fact, Americans could do anything when we do it together. So please do your part. Give it your all through July the 4th. Let’s reach our 70% goal. Let’s go into the summer freer and safer. Let’s celebrate a truly historic Independence Day. Thank you for listening, please get engaged and may God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Thank you.