At a July 6 press briefing, President Joe Biden said: “We are continuing to wind down the mass vaccination sites that did so much in the spring to rapidly vaccinate those eager to get their first shot — and their second shot, for that matter, if they needed a second.”
He continued: “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.”
Since the announcement of a five-point plan to get more Americans vaccinated, online users have claimed a door-to-door campaign is a tactic to target unvaccinated Americans. One claim came from Amy Tarkanian, former chairwoman of the Nevada GOP and wife of Danny Tarkanian, an attorney and Douglas County (Nevada) Commissioner.
VERIFY viewer Bee also asked: Is the president ordering door-to-door checks to make sure people get the COVID-19 vaccine? And VERIFY reader Jeff asked if the door-to-door checks were an enforcement tactic.
Is the president ordering door-to-door checks to force individuals to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Dr. Howard Koh, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- Dr. Saralyn Mark, former senior medical advisor at the White House and current lead COVID-19 spokesperson for the American Medical Women’s Association
- The White House Briefing Room
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
No, President Joe Biden did not launch a door-to-door campaign to enforce or mandate the COVID-19 vaccine, but he is encouraging those who have been vaccinated to encourage others to get the vaccine.
WHAT WE FOUND
Dr. Saralyn Mark, the former senior medical advisor at the White House and current lead COVID-19 spokesperson for the American Medical Women’s Association, told VERIFY: “The bottom line is that the White House is not going door-to-door to enforce vaccination.”
“There’s not a forced vaccination, what it is, it's an opportunity to educate and to engage the public. There is enough data out there that shows that people tend to listen to people that they trust, whether it be their neighbor, their local physician, pharmacist, someone in their community,” Mark said.
At the July 6 press briefing, President Joe Biden laid out a five-point plan to encourage individuals to get vaccinated, considering mass vaccination sites would be soon going away.
- More than 40,000 pharmacy locations offering the vaccine without an appointment
- Easier access to the vaccine at a local doctor or healthcare provider’s office
- Access for children ages 12 to 18 to get vaccinated at a pediatrician’s office
- Encourage vaccines at a place of employment, or provide services for an employer to give an employee paid time off to get vaccinated
- More mobile clinics at special events, like concerts, sporting events, etc.
At a July 8 briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said community outreach works - with vaccination rates across Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas - states with some of the lowest vaccination rates - growing thanks to community outreach. Outreach meant to encourage, not enforce.
Dr. Howard Koh, with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told VERIFY if the U.S. is going to reach herd immunity, we have to reach every person, even if it’s one at a time.
“So when vaccination started in this country, the initial goal was to reach millions at a time. But now we’re at a point where the goal is to reach one at a time. And that’s what this announcement [Biden’s five-point plan] is all about. It’s really important in this critical juncture to make sure that everybody has had a conversation with somebody they trust, somebody who can provide information,” Koh told VERIFY.
“And so this door-to-door effort is to provide information, education, and empowerment, and having a dialogue about the facts, about understanding each person and how they’re feeling about vaccination, and people’s willingness to join to help the entire United States get this pandemic behind us is critically important right now," said Koh.
The federal government has some policies that affect each individual, such as wearing masks on public transportation or in government buildings, but the White House would not order individuals to enforce the vaccine one household at a time, according to Mark.
“The states have a lot of responsibility and a lot of authority to help their local communities. Now, I've always seen this pandemic to be regional, that different parts of the country, as well as parts of the world, would experience it differently at different times. I saw the pandemic also being rolling, meaning that we probably will see this virus for a very long time, it will be endemic in our communities. And it's also a revolving situation,” Mark said.
“So as case rates go up, restrictions may have to go up as well. And that's done really at the local/regional level, I think it's important to realize that we have to be nimble, we have to be able to adapt, and local communities and grassroots organizations and state-level organizations can do that very well and very effectively,” she added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48.8% of the total U.S. population had been vaccinated as of July 23.
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