HHS Secretary: Door-Knock Vaccination Effort 'Is Absolutely the Government's Business'

By Susan Jones | July 8, 2021 | 11:40am EDT
Volunteers  knock on a door during an outreach effort to inform residents about an upcoming COVID-19 vaccination event, on June 30, 2021, in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images)
Volunteers knock on a door during an outreach effort to inform residents about an upcoming COVID-19 vaccination event, on June 30, 2021, in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Two days ago, President Joe Biden announced that his administration's vaccination push may come right to your front door:

“Now we need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftimes door-to-door, literally knocking on doors to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus,” the president said.

The door-to-door plan is getting pushback from some Americans, who see door-knocking as intrusive and none of the government's business. Oh yes it is our business, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told CNN on Thursday morning:

Perhaps we should point out that the federal government has spent trillions of dollars to keep Americans alive during this pandemic. So it is absolutely the government's business. It is taxpayers' business if we have to continue to spend money to try to keep people from contracting COVID and helping reopen the economy.

And so it is our business to try to make sure Americans can prosper, Americans can freely associate, and knocking on a door has never been against the law. You don't have to answer, but we hope you do. Because if you haven't been vaccinated, we can help dispel some of those rumors that you've heard and hopefully get you vaccinated.

Becerra said the Biden administration is "going to go where you are so that you can get vaccinated. And we'll do everything we can. And what we've done is allowed the states through our governors, our mayors, and county supervisors to determine how best to approach people in their neighborhoods."

Becerra used a driving analogy, where you assume other drivers are as responsible as you are, although they may not be: "And so do we prevent or prohibit people from driving because they won't be as responsible as you? We, again, give people choices and we try to have people be responsible.

"COVID is no different. The vaccine is no different. We want people to be personally and community responsible, and we hope that they'll understand it's not just their lives, their loved one's lives, but perhaps your children's lives as well."

Delta variant a particular concern

A short time later on Thursday, White House COVID Response Coordinator Jeff Zients told a news conference that 182 million Americans have received at least one COVID shot; of that number, 160 million are fully vaccinated.

"As a country we are closer than ever to ending this pandemic and getting back to normal," he said. "But the sad reality is that despite our progress, we're still losing people to this virus, which is especially tragic, given at this point it is unnecessary and preventable."

Zients said "virtually all" hospitalizations and deaths are happening among the unvaccinated, and he expects to see increases in cases among those who refuse the shots --"particularly given the spread of the more transmissible delta variant," he added.

Zients said the spread of the delta variant "poses a particular threat to our young people," which "only strengthens our resolve to reach everyone."

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