Biden to Travel to North Carolina in Bid to Boost Vaccinations

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President Joe Biden is traveling to North Carolina on Thursday to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated against the virus that causes Covid-19.

The president’s trip to Raleigh comes 10 days before July 4, Biden’s stated target date to see at least 70% of adult Americans at least partially vaccinated — a goal that risks slipping out of reach. So far, slightly more than 65% of adults in the U.S. have had at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite a vaccine supply that has become plentiful across the nation.

Biden will use the visit to the state’s capital to “highlight the ease of getting vaccinated, encourage vaccinations, and mobilize grassroots vaccine education and outreach efforts,” the White House said in a statement on Sunday.

North Carolina is lagging behind many other states and the U.S. average. In North Carolina, 44.6% of the whole population has been inoculated, compared with 53.2% in the U.S. as a whole, according to CDC data. So far, 23 states and other jurisdictions have vaccinated at least 50% of their populations, the data show.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper this month announced that state residents who have received a vaccine and who are 18 years or older could be eligible to win $1 million. He follows other state officials like Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in taking unusual steps to nudge more residents into health clinics and pharmacies for a jab.

Cooper last week expressed disappointment that the four prize drawings had failed to increase vaccination. “Not significantly,” he said when a reporter asked whether the lottery had enticed more people to get a shot.

The best vaccines are thought to be about 95% effective, but millions of Americans will need to get vaccinated in order to continue stalling the virus’s spread. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease official, has said that vaccinating 70% to 85% of the U.S. population would enable a return to normalcy.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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