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Homeland Security

Press Briefing by White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Official

June 08, 2021

Via Teleconference

10:19 A.M. EDT

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR SLAVITT: Good morning. Welcome to our White House COVID Response press briefing. Today, I am joined by Dr. Walensky, Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Nunez-Smith. I want to first provide an update on our vaccination program.

Over the weekend, Washington State became the 13th state to reach the milestone of 70 percent of adults with at least one shot. I spoke with Governor Inslee, who conveyed that despite their great progress, the continued work needed to move the state back to normal. He, after all, governs the state where most of us witnessed the first major coronavirus outbreak last year. And I conveyed our complete support for the steps he is taking with regard to how he is managing the public health actions to bring the state back in as safe a way as possible.

Now, every state has the ability to do what has been done in these 13 states, but there is no doubt that it takes work. That's why last week we launched the National Month of Action to help more states reach that milestone and get more people vaccinated.

Over the weekend, volunteers across 45 states completed more than 500,000 phone calls, door knocks, or texts. The First Lady and Dr. Fauci visited a vaccination clinic in New York City, where they met Annette, a 92-year-old woman who was there because her grandson convinced her and drove her to get the shot.

If you don't have someone in your life to do that, don't worry, you can text your ZIP Code to 438829 and get a free ride to and from a vaccination site. Uber and Lyft have already completed more than 150,000 free rides to help Americans get vaccinated, and this program will continue until July 4.

And Dr. Nunez-Smith will have a further update on making transportation even more broadly available.

Now, according to our surveys, many employees say they would get a vaccine if they were able to do so around their working hours. So, we are very pleased that effective immediately, the American Hospital Association has launched the capability to bring vaccinations directly to people's workplaces through their member hospitals.

Employers can now email COVID19@aha.org, and your business will be connected with a local provider who can work with you to host an onsite pop-up clinic, and usually make it happen in a matter of days.

Many states and many businesses have launched incentive programs. And anecdotal reports are emerging that many of these are working well.

Look at Jonathan Carlyle, an Amazon delivery driver from Toledo, Ohio. Here's what he said about getting vaccinated, and I quote: "I kept hemming and hawing about it, and I work all the time." When Vax-a-Million — "when this Vax-a-Million thing started, I immediately went down there and got it. It pushed me over the edge."

Today, Jonathan Carlyle is on his way to being fully vaccinated. And he's a millionaire because he also won Ohio's Vax-a-Million. Safe from COVID and a millionaire. And, Jonathan, it doesn't stop there: You're also eligible for a free beer from Anheuser-Busch on July 4. What a great country.

And that's before even considering that Dr. Fauci and his team at the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases helped invent and invest in the mRNA platform over the last two decades so that we would be ready in case the worst should happen. Jonathan, that's how you got your vaccine in the first place. So, thank you, Dr. Fauci.

Finally, many Americans say they will get vaccinated if one thing happens: They have a chance to talk to their physician and get their questions answered. So, call your physician if you want to know if you should get vaccinated. And if you don't have one, call a local hospital or clinic.

Rather than wait for the call, the people at a company called Centene, an insurer that disproportionately serves lower-income Americans, is initiating something highly innovative that I hope people follow, and so do they.

They will launch a campaign to conduct vaccination education and outreach to 25 million Americans. More than half of them will get a call directly on their phone.

And when Centene reaches someone who is unvaccinated, they will connect them to their physician directly and help them arrange an appointment. And Kaiser Permanente is conducting a similar approach through email, texting, and direct mail.

We do hope other organizations, with broad reach directly into patient populations like this, follow their lead and contact people who are at-risk, because they don't have a vaccination and talk to them about the benefits of vaccination.

These are all great examples about how this is not an effort to 70 percent that is being done by the government; it is being led by the American people and by constituents all around the country.

Since today is my last briefing, and tomorrow is my last day in the White House, I want to close by saying what a pleasure it has been not only to serve on the President's COVID response team, but also to be able to help lead these briefings.

We've aimed to follow the example of the President by presenting clear, straight answers to the best of our ability and a view of what we are seeing, whether the news is good or bad.

It has been an honor to serve as part of an administration committed to working day and night until Americans are able to feel safe again from this pandemic, that the pandemic becomes highly manageable, that the economy is flourishing, and that we are on our way towards vaccinating the globe.

But I'm even prouder to serve in an administration that has been so deeply committed to seeing our values in action every day, pulling everyone together and leaving no one out, empathetic to what ordinary Americans are going through, and leading with equity at every turn.

Even as so much of what we cherish is returning, we cannot let our progress be a reason for taking our foot off the pedal. Threats remain. We must push harder so more Americans can return to normal life and the peace of mind that comes with being vaccinated.

And with that, I'll turn it over to Dr. Walensky.

DR. WALENSKY: Thank you, Andy. Please know you will be dearly missed in this venue and across.

Good morning to everyone. I'm pleased to be back with you today.

As far as the data: Yesterday, CDC reported just over 10,000 new cases of COVID-19. Our seven-day average is 13,277 cases per day, and this represents yet another decrease of nearly 30 percent from the prior seven-day average, but most importantly, a 94 percent decrease from COVID-19 cases since January of this year, and the first time that the seven-day average of cases has been less than 15,000 since March 27, 2020.

In other good news, the seven-day average of new hospital admissions is just a bit over 2,200. That is a decrease of 83 percent in hospitalizations since January 9th of this year when we peaked at over 16,500 average daily admissions.

And finally, the seven-day average of daily deaths remains at 379 per day. It gives me so much hope to report these declines in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. It is, in part, a result of our ongoing efforts to vaccinate so many Americans.

Each week, there are more and more data to demonstrate the impact a vaccination has on preventing disease and moving us out of this pandemic.

Today, CDC published an MMWR that demonstrates how high vaccination coverage in older adults in the United States has likely served to reduce COVID-19 cases and severe outcomes.

In this new CDC study, we looked at the rates of cases, emergency department visits, hospital admissions, and deaths across all age group both before and after the COVID-19 vaccine was available, from December 2020 to May 2021.

We observed larger declines in COVID-19 cases, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths in adults over age 65 — who were prioritized for vaccination in the early phases — than in adults aged 18 to 49, who are less likely to be vaccinated.

By comparing data from November and December of 2020, before vaccine rollout, with data from April and May, after vaccine rollout, and by stratifying the data by age groups, we are able to see the critical contribution of vaccination coverage on reducing COVID-19 cases, severe illness, and death, especially among those over 65 years.

As of today, we have administered over 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. More than 85 percent of adults over age 65 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 75 percent are fully vaccinated and fully protected.

Still, we have a lot more work to do, especially in younger age groups. Of Americans that qualify for a vaccine — those that are 12 years of age and over — we have been able to vaccinate 50 percent of the country. This is great news, but there is more work to be done.

During this pivotal month of action, if you are not vaccinated, please go to Vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to GETVAX, or 438829, or talk with your healthcare provider, state or local health department, or local pharmacist to find out more about getting vaccinated.

And if you've gotten your first dose of Pfizer or Moderna, don't forget to get your second either three or four weeks later.

I'll stop here and turn it over to Dr. Fauci.

DR. FAUCI: Thank you very much, Dr. Walensky.

Before I start, let me just underscore what Dr. Walensky said about how much we will miss Andy Slavitt. Andy, you are a class act, and we will miss you greatly.

What I'm going to do right now is spend the next couple of minutes talking to you about a subject that has gained a lot more attention over the last few days, and that has to do with the variants in general, but particularly in the variant which we now refer to as Delta, or the B1617.2., which, in fact, as you know, originally was noticed in India and dominated in certain states in India, but now has spread throughout other elements and other areas of the world.

Next slide.

So let's just take a quick look at that. It's reported in 60 countries, including the UK and the USA. Clearly, now its transmissibility appears to be greater than the wild type, named the Alpha variant. It may be associated with an increased disease severity, such as hospitalization risk, compared to Alpha. And in lab tests, associated with modest decreased neutralization by sera from previously infected and vaccinated individuals compared to the Alpha.

However, fortunately, two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and AstraZeneca appear to be effective against the Delta variant. There's reduced vaccine effectiveness after one dose, however — and I'll get back to that in a moment.

Next slide.

This is a publication, from what I had mentioned to you at a previous briefing, from Public Health England, and it has to do with the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines against this delta variant. Just to reiterate: Two weeks after the second dose of the mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech, it was 88 percent effective against the 617, and just like we've shown multiple times, over 93 percent effective against the B117.

Take a look at the last bullet. Three weeks after one dose, both vaccines — the AZ and the Pfizer-BioNTech — were only 33 percent effective against symptomatic disease from delta. Clearly important about why a second dose is so important.

Next slide.

Now, what about what's going on in the UK and why should we learn lessons from this, and always getting back to the situation of why it's so important to be vaccinated?

In the UK, the delta variant is the rapidly emerging as the dominant variant — greater than 60 percent. It is replacing the B117. The peak transmission in my conversations with, and the data associated with the UK, when talking to their health authorities, the transmission is peaking in the younger group of 12- to 20-year-olds — mainly that group that we're concerned about here, about making sure they get vaccinated.

And as I mentioned before, there's poor protection after a single dose of either the mRNA or AZ vaccine.

Next slide.

This slide graphically demonstrates in the darker part of the slide, the red, the emergence of the B1617.2 compared to the lighter pink, which was the original B117. It's essentially taking over.

Last slide.

So let's look at where we are in the United States. That variant, the delta variant, currently accounts for more than 6p percent of the sequence cases in the United States. This is a situation, the way it was in England, where they had a B117 dominant, and then the 617 took over.

We cannot let that happen in the United States, which is such a powerful argument to underscore with Dr. Walensky said. To get vaccinated, particularly if you've had your first dose, make sure you get that second dose. And for those who have been not vaccinated yet, please get vaccinated. This is the national month of action. We want to get to and above the goal of 70 percent of the adult population receiving at least one dose by the fourth of July. I'll stop there, and over to you, Dr. Nunez-Smith.

DR. NUNEZ-SMITH. Great. Thank you so much, Dr. Fauci. And good morning to everyone.

As we know, for our national vaccination campaign to be successful, everyone — everyone in our country needs to benefit from the scientific discovery with the vaccines. We absolutely cannot beat this virus without making sure there's a plan that works for everyone and works for all communities.

So, to ensure that we are truly reaching everyone who is unvaccinated in this phase of our vaccination program, in this month of action, we are working hard and continuing to make progress in addressing the structural barriers that many people face in terms of access. We're focusing even harder on meeting people exactly where they are. And we will continue to provide the public with the answers that you need about getting vaccinated.

It is our pledge to make sure that vaccination is easy and convenient for everyone. So we've increased the number of pop-up and mobile units across the country. We've ensured that the majority of our 40,000 participating pharmacies are located in areas that are at higher risk.

We understand not everyone can operate on a nine to five schedule, as Andy said. So, pharmacies are now accepting walk in appointments and have extended their hours.

Starting this week, thousands of pharmacies nationwide will stay open late every Friday in June, and will offer the services throughout the night to make sure individuals can get their shot.

We already see the difference our pharmacy program is making to close the equity gap. Over the last two weeks, half of pharmacy doses have been administered to people of color. And our community health center program remains another trustworthy, available option for neighborhoods across the country. They are also closing the equity gap. About 70 percent of shots through the federal community health center program have been administered to people of color.

Still, when talking to those who are unvaccinated, I often hear many of the same reasons for why they have yet to get a shot. Many, many people have concerns about missing a day of work, about paying for childcare, or about how they will travel to and from a vaccination site.

For individuals and communities facing greater degrees of socio economic disadvantage — those who can't afford to miss a day or two of work; that can't afford unplanned, unexpected childcare or travel expenses — risking a shockwave through a family's finances is just not tenable. So, the COVID-19 response team has focused on addressing each of these barriers: paid time off, childcare, and transportation.

First, last month, the President announced a tax credit to fully reimburse employers — those with fewer than 500 employees — that provide paid time off for vaccination and any side effects. And he called on every employer in the country to do the same.

And second, last week, the President announced that through July 4th, the nation's largest childcare providers will offer free childcare to parents and caregivers getting vaccinated and anybody recuperating from vaccination.

The Department of Health and Human Services also issued guidance encouraging all states to use funding from the American Rescue Plan to support local and home-based providers who want to join the effort.

And third, Uber and Lyft providing free rides to vaccination sites through July 4th. And just today, the Department of Transportation announced that more than 350 transit agencies across the country are also offering free rides to vaccination sites.

We want to give everyone in the country as many free transit options as possible — by subway, bus, rideshare. There are multiple ways to get to and from your shot for free. And many of these public transit efforts are supported by the American Rescue Plan, which has provided more than $30 billion in support for transit agencies, and several of these transit agencies are in hard-hit and high-risk communities with lower vaccination rates.

You know, in Florida, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority has partnered with Agape Family Health to launch "Wheels to Wellness" ["Wellness on Wheels"], a mobile vaccination clinic using transit buses in areas with gaps in equity. Transit agencies in both urban and rural communities across the country have also waived fares to vaccination sites. In rural south-central Texas, Spartan Public Transit has provided free bus rides to appointments and assigned staff to help residents find the nearest vaccination site accessible by transit.

And since April, Pueblo Transit in Colorado has offered free bus rides for all residents to the FEMA community vaccination center at the Colorado State Fairgrounds.

These local efforts are incredible, and we encourage everyone in these communities please take advantage of them.

And today, we are calling on every governor and local leader across the country to ensure that your state, county, city, or town provides at least one free accessible public transit and paratransit opportunity for your constituents during this month of action. And the Federal Transportation Authority will support your transit agency's vaccination efforts by awarding grants to cover 100 percent of these expenses.

So, as I said earlier, we absolutely cannot beat this virus without making sure there's a plan that works for all communities and for everyone to get vaccinated. We've made incredible progress. Getting vaccinated now is easier than ever. You can text your ZIP code, as you've heard, to 438829. You will be given the addresses of those vaccination sites — the three closest to you — but you will also be asked whether you're in need of childcare or transportation support during your vaccination.

So the Biden-Harris administration is committed to addressing barriers, and we're not going to leave anyone behind in this response.

So, thank you. And with that, I'll turn it back over to Andy and also add my gratitude to you for your service. And you will be missed, my friend.

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR SLAVITT: Thank you. Thank you so much, Dr. Nunez-Smith.

Kevin, let's take some questions.

MODERATOR: All right. First question, let's go to Dave Shepardson at Reuters.

Q Thanks for — thanks for that. Two — two quick questions. Dr. Walensky, has the CDC decided whether to let the residential eviction ban expire on June 30th? And can you talk a bit about, you know, the ongoing discussions about the 212(f) restrictions, given that some countries now have higher rates of infections that do not have any restrictions and some countries are still covered that have very low rates? Is it time to rethink the 212(f)?

DR. WALENSKY: Thank you for those questions, Dave. We are in discussions about what will happen with eviction order for when it expires, so I don't have any updates there.

With regard to 212(f), this, of course, is an interagency conversation, and we are looking at the data in real time as to how we should move forward with that.

And so — and for — in fact, you know, as you heard from Dr. Fauci earlier, as we look at those conversa- — as we have those conversations, we need to include data regarding where things — there are more cases and data related to variants — ongoing conversations.

Thank you.

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR SLAVITT: Next question.

MODERATOR: Ebony McMorris at the American Urban Radio Network.

Q Hi, thank you. This is for Dr. Walensky. Within the African American community, there's still only 25 percent that have received just on one vaccination shot. And I know the President rolled out, you know, the National Month of Action. However, how is that correlating now? What is the response that you are seeing?

And the second part to that is: I hear what you're doing with employers. Is there also a push to work with Black churches in the community to maybe do some on-site vaccination since that's also a center organization within Black communities?

DR. WALENSKY: Dr. Nunez-Smith, do you want to take that? Or you'd like me to?

DR. NUNEZ-SMITH: Yeah, I'm absolutely happy to speak to that, and thanks for the question. You know, we remain, you know, across the entire government, extremely committed and centered on equity in the response.

We know that there is still much work to do, despite the progress that we've been discussing. You know, to your first point around the numbers of the data: You know, unfortunately we still are dealing with challenges in the completeness of our data, so it's hard to know exactly in terms of those numbers. But we are pushing, absolutely, the comprehensive efforts to make sure that we meet people where they are, that we address all the structural barriers, and to your key point, that the partnerships are deep with community leaders, faith-based leaders, organizations.

And so there are indeed efforts — and, you're right, have been extremely successful in partnering with houses of worship, the Black church. The President also announced a new initiative, "Shots at the Shop," partnering with barbershops and beauty salons. So, making sure that we connect people, it's easy, it's convenient, and people have their questions answered.

DR. WALENSKY: And I'll just add that CDC has toolkits available for all of these local settings. If there's a faith-based organization that wants a toolkit for how to get engaged, we have those — those toolkits available. Same with community-based organizations.

DR. FAUCI: With regard to on-site vaccination: Just to mention, Andy, as you said yesterday, I had the privilege of being with — and Sunday — with the First Lady when we visited the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. And as far as on-site vaccinations, in the basement of there, they had everything set up with registration, pre-counseling, vaccination observation. It looked like a veritable clinic, and that was within the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the middle of Harlem. So it is happening in sight.

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR SLAVITT: Great. Let's go to the next question.

MODERATOR: Jeannie Baumann at Bloomberg.

Q Hi, thanks so much for taking my question. Dr. Fauci, I was wondering — I know NIH is working on boosters for the B135. And I was wondering, given what you just were talking about with the delta, if the lab is working on those boosters as well.

DR. FAUCI: As of yet, there is not a trial that is specific, in the sense of variant-specific boost. You know, we did it with others, but not that.

Importantly, Jeannie, I want to point out that there are two ways to approach boosting: One is boosting against the original wild-type for which a person was originally vaccinated, and the other is a variant-specific boost.

We are approaching both of those, but the one thing that we are noticing that's important is that the higher your degree of immune response against the wild-type, the greater the secondary coverage you have against a wide array of variants, which is the reason why, as we have reported in previous press briefings, that when you look at particularly the double doses — primary and boost of the mRNA vaccines, which we have the most data — there is rather good protection that spills over against multiple variants.

So, you can boost against the wild type and still cover variants, including 617. So the answer is: Yes, we're studying it definitely from a boost to the wild type. We haven't yet done a study against the 617, but I believe we will get protection heightened by a boost against the wild type.

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR SLAVITT: Right. Next question.

MODERATOR: Meg Tirrel at CNBC.

Q Well, thanks. I wanted to ask about the release from Governor DeWine in Ohio yesterday. He said that there are about 200,000 doses of the J&J vaccine in the state, which will expire on June 23rd if they're not used. And he pointed out there's no legal way for them to share the vaccine with other states or countries. I just wondered if there are any solutions for that, if the state itself can't use those doses to get them to a place that could use them before they expire.

And separately, I also wanted to ask just for some reflection on the importance of trials in kids under age 12, with Pfizer starting its phase 2/3 in kids ages 5 to 11 today, and the fact that they're testing such lower doses — 10 micrograms — and then, for even younger kids, 3 micrograms, which is a third and a tenth of the adult dose. If you could just comment on the significance of that lower dose for kids and the significance of these trials in general. Thanks.

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR SLAVITT: So, why don't I take the question about Ohio, and, Dr. Fauci, if you don't mind, to take the question about the dosing and the trials for younger children.

So, look, our first goal and our first opportunity is that every dose that's been ordered by a governor in a state gets used. There are plenty of people across the country, in every state, that still haven't been vaccinated, that are eligible, that are at risk and need to get vaccinated.

There is a very, very small fraction of doses that have been sent out to states that will ultimately not be used. This will be — these will be fractional amounts and really will not have any significant bearing on our ability to commit to distribute vaccines globally.

We are going to be distributing — as the President committed, by the end of July — 80 million doses globally. And we have, you know — as the President has said, we're going to make this country a hub of activity of manufacturing, distribution, promotion of vaccines in far greater numbers.

So, we would also — final, small point is — would encourage every governor to — who has doses that they worry may be expiring, to work with the FDA directly on the proper storage procedures as we continue to examine, as they continue to examine processes that will allow the doses to potentially last longer as they go through those trials.

Dr. Fauci, do you want to take the other piece?

DR. FAUCI: Yes. Thank you, Andy. A good question. The idea of when you're going from an adult trial with adult doses: We do standard — this isn't anything unusual — what's called an "age de-escalation" and a "dose de-escalation" study where you actually go from 12 years to 9, 9 to 6, 6 to 2, and then 6 months to 2 years.

And when you get down to the younger children, it is not at all unusual to diminish the dose — as you pointed out — when it goes down to 10 and then when you go down even lower to 3, which is entirely compatible with the way you do both age and dose de-escalation studies.

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR SLAVITT: Next question.

MODERATOR: Kaitlan Collins, CNN.

Q Thanks very much. Andy, just one quick question to follow up on what you just said. You said that the doses are supposed to be out — the 80 million — by the end of July. I just want to confirm that is supposed to be the end of June, right?

And then, my other question — just to follow up on the J&J doses — you said it's a small fraction that is set to expire, but the Wall Street Journal says it's millions of doses that are set to expire by the end of the month. So, even if these states and these governors are contacting the FDA, what is the federal government's plan to make sure that, you know, not even a single dose goes to waste?

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR SLAVITT: Yeah, so I believe you're right about June, but I may have been confused. So we'll get — we'll make sure that we're straightening that out.

The — look, it's not realistic to expect that not a single dose will go to waste. I would tell you that a very, very small fraction of the doses that have been sent to states, that are in the hundreds of millions, will end up not being used. Remember, those doses were ordered by states, delivered by states, and should end up in people's arms. And we are working aggressively through this month of action and other steps to try to get those doses into arms.

But inevitably, you know, you would, in looking at this, Kaitlan, you would choose speed over making sure that every single dose got into someone's arms and wasn't wasted; you would choose equity over making sure that there wasn't a single wasted dose.

Those are values we've continued to prioritize — speed and equity — as the most important things. And that means that, inevitably, there will be situations where that will happen.

Now, again, the FDA is looking at opportunities for continued storage. And we, of course, are continuing to look at opportunity for continued delivery of those doses. So, my advice: You want to win a million bucks? Go get vaccinated and we can use these doses.

I think I answered all your questions, Kaitlan, I believe. If I didn't, please let me know. But if not, Kevin, back to you for another question, if there is one.

MODERATOR: Let's go to last question. Zeke at AP.

Q Thanks for doing this. I was hoping, Dr. Fauci, you might be able to weigh in on the potential consequences of the U.S. falling short of the President's 70 percent vaccination target by July 4th. Is there a practical impact for the country at large?

And then specifically to those states and communities where the vaccination rate, you know, isn't just close to 70, it's significantly short of that threshold, what are the real-world impacts for those communities that have not been able to drive vaccination up?

And then just, sorry, one follow-up to Andy: You just suggested that, you know, those were — states ordered those doses and it's on them to deliver. Are states not doing their part in some of these areas where the vaccination rate isn't high enough to get those doses into arms? Is there more those states should be doing?

DR. FAUCI: Well, let me take the first part of it, Zeke. Good question. When goals are set, they're set to be able to stimulate us to get to that goal. If you don't meet the precise goal and you fall short by a few percent, that doesn't mean you stop in your effort to get people vaccinated.

We have always held that July 4th is not the end of it. We want to reach 70 percent of the adult population by the Fourth of July. I believe we can; I hope we will. And if we don't, we're going to continue to keep pushing. As you know, this is the month of action for what we're doing, and we're putting a lot of effort into it.

When you ask about the consequences, Zeke, it gets back to what we have said all along — literally almost every single time we've had a briefing — why it's so important. And you're right, there are some states that are falling well below the 50 percent, and those are the states that we are, in many respects — I use the word "almost pleading with them" — on the basis of what I showed in my presentation just a few minutes ago: of why it is so important to get vaccinated. And if we can galvanize that group that still for one reason or other does not want to get vaccinated, we can reach the 70 and go well beyond it as we get into the summer.

So, the consequences — we all know; it's a fact: If you don't get vaccinated, you are at risk. If you get vaccinated, you dramatically — dramatically diminish the risk of getting infected and almost eliminate the risk of serious disease; why it's so, so important for all of us to seriously consider vaccination if you have not already been vaccinated.

And, Andy, back to you.

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR SLAVITT: Yeah, Zeke, to your other question. You know, remember that, not so long ago, we were in a much more acute phase of this crisis. Governors were doing their jobs as the best they could, ordering as many doses as they felt they needed to be able to combat this very significant threat. And as we've seen, the vaccines that have been distributed, they have done their jobs as they should. But in places where we haven't reached that goal yet, we remain very focused on helping those states.

So I would not say that we feel like someone hasn't, quote unquote, "done their jobs," Zeke. I would say we feel like it is hard work. And all the things you hear Dr. Nunez-Smith talking about and other people who get on to these calls, and all the initiatives that we announced that we're working on are because it is hard work. And we are prepared to work with any state and every state to make sure that every last person has an opportunity to be vaccinated because it is so important, and it is such an important focus.

Well, thank you again for the question. And a final thanks to all the press for attending these briefings and in helping us inform the public. And we will look forward to the following — the next briefing. Thank you very much.

10:56 A.M. EDT

To view the COVID Press Briefing slides



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