Politics: Biden’s Spaghetti-at-the-Wall Vaccine Campaign

Beyond ample supply, hurdles abound in the race to vaccinate the globe

  Beyond ample supply, hurdles abound in the race to vaccinate the globe In the race between vaccines and variants, distribution and delivery challenges will be the determining factors in whether new and even more dangerous variants emerge that could pierce our hard-won vaccine immunity. © Getty Images Beyond ample supply, hurdles abound in the race to vaccinate the globe Biden's meeting with G7 leaders in Europe last month took steps to head off this crisis, setting the goal of vaccinating the world by 2022. To get there, they pledged to unconditionally donate to the poorest countries 870 million doses (including 500 million from the U.S.

Per the door-knocking documents that were leaked from the Biden administration, they talk about missionaries across America spreading lies illegally to convince Americans that vaccines aren’t causing blood clots at pandemic proportions while having already murdered over 7,000 people . In the leaked documents, we see the SS Vaccine Police script to encourage and convince the door-knocking shills and goons that they are doing the right thing and that it’ s not illegal: Ignore no soliciting signs .

For Biden and his aides, reality is setting in that getting the entire country vaccinated will be the work of his entire presidency -- and that pockets of the nation where vaccination rates remain low will continue to suffer outbreaks that hamper the nationwide recovery effort. Highly politicized and rife with misinformation, the debate over vaccines presents an enduring challenge for Biden even as he heralds the overall trajectory of the pandemic. Nationwide, vaccination rates are dropping, while in 45 states, the rates of new cases this past week are at least 10% higher than the rates of new cases the

diagram © Chip Somodevilla / Getty; Adam Maida / The Atlantic

What will it take? Eighty-year-old Anthony Fauci is on TikTok trying to reach the young and unvaccinated. Dating apps are steering people toward health clinics. The first lady, Jill Biden, is venturing into red America to coax the unwilling into getting shots. White House aides regularly swap messages on an email chain dubbed “Ideas” that flags inventive ways of persuading people to do their part to end the pandemic. On Wednesday, the pop star Olivia Rodrigo made a cameo at the White House press briefing to urge her young fans to get vaccinated. “We’re focusing on an all-of-the-above strategy,” Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, told me recently. Or maybe it’s a spaghetti-at-the-wall strategy.

Byron York's Daily Memo: Republicans, Democrats, and the vaccine

  Byron York's Daily Memo: Republicans, Democrats, and the vaccine Welcome to Byron York's Daily Memo newsletter.REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS, AND THE VACCINE. More Republicans than Democrats appear to be "vaccine-hesitant," that is reluctant, for one reason or another, to take the Covid-19 vaccine. They've gotten the treatment you might expect in some quarters of the press. "Right-wing anti-vaccine hysteria is increasing. We'll all pay the price," read one headline in the Washington Post. In the New York Times, there was, "Far-Right Extremists Move From 'Stop the Steal' to Stop the Vaccine." The Daily Beast chimed in with "The GOP's Paranoid Streak From John Birchers to Anti-Vaxxers." You get the idea.

President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that his administration would step up efforts to get Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 with a new program that would go “door to door, literally knocking on doors,” urging people to get the shots. During his remarks the president said that “We need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oft times, door to door In addition to the door to door information campaign , Psaki said other measures would include a “renewed emphasis on getting the vaccines to more primary care doctors,” and increasing access for workers at job sites.

A teacher at the school where my wife works said she won’t get the vaccine because she doesn’t want dead baby fetuses injected into her body. Anyone who can be convinced that there are dead baby fetuses in the vaccine cannot be convinced that the vaccine is safe and effective. My Brother in law has a running bet with our mother in law, she is in to the whole Q thing and at the time thought the military would take over at Biden ' s inauguration, then when that didn't happen it got moved to i think March the 4th (because that was the date presidents were originally inaugurated, iirc)

You might think that, in his quest to quell the coronavirus, President Joe Biden would be ready to try anything. But there are indeed some things he won’t try, and the reason is a familiar one. Biden’s vaccination drive has the feel of a political campaign that’s targeting the persuadable middle, when what’s really needed is a novel way to reach the proudly irrational. He’s using many of the same tools he employed in 2020: celebrity endorsements and door-to-door contacts, TV ads and the bully pulpit. Fewer and fewer unvaccinated Americans are heeding the message. Compared with an average of more than 3.3 million doses a day in April, only about half a million people are now getting vaccinated on a given day. Nearly one-third of the adult population hasn’t gotten a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a time when the far more infectious Delta variant is sweeping the nation. There’s no assurance that more of the same will produce a better result.

Utah's Republican governor said anti-vaccine rhetoric from some on the right is 'literally killing their supporters'

  Utah's Republican governor said anti-vaccine rhetoric from some on the right is 'literally killing their supporters' Gov. Spencer Cox said there are "talking heads who have gotten the vaccine and are telling other people not to get the vaccine."During a news conference Friday, a reporter asked Governor Spencer Cox how harmful anti-vaccine rhetoric, particularly from right-wing sources, has been to the state's vaccination effort.

The Biden administration has promised to try to turn the Covid-19 pandemic around and drastically speed up the pace of vaccinating Americans against the virus. But in the immediate hours following Biden being sworn into office on Wednesday, sources with direct knowledge of You can't say it was absolutely not usable at all," Fauci said. Prior to Inauguration Day, some of Biden ' s Covid-19 advisers had wanted to be careful not to be overly critical in public of the Trump administration's handling of the virus and vaccine , given that the Biden transition team was already having a hard time getting critical

Amid growing privacy concerns over the Biden administration' s effort to promote Covid-19 jabs among unvaccinated Americans, a document has resurfaced outlining “helpful hints” for the so-called “health ambassadors.” The toolkit, dubbed ‘Door Knocking Project to Increase COVID Vaccine Acceptance’, and a training video for the so-called “health ambassadors” were released by the Lake County, Illinois authorities back in April, but only caught public attention this week after President Joe Biden announced a shift towards taking the pro- vaccination message “door-to-door.”

“The problem is, we’re out of time,” Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told me. “Even if you’re vaccinated tomorrow, you’re five or six weeks away from being fully immunized, and Delta is already on the rise.”

Reasons vary as to why the holdouts are unmoved. Polling shows that Black and Hispanic adults, for example, are more likely than white adults to forgo the vaccine due to fear of missing work. A disproportionate share of Republicans, white evangelical Christians, and rural residents—the durable core of Donald Trump’s base—say they won’t ever get vaccinated, according to surveys taken by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Nearly half of Republican adults who haven’t been vaccinated cite distrust of government as a major reason. (Only a quarter of unvaccinated Democrats mention that as a rationale for refusing a vaccine.) Trump supporters are not listening to Biden and they don’t care what he says—but the president can’t simply ignore them. “You can win an election with 51 percent of the vote, but you can’t beat COVID with 51 percent of the vote,” Jerome Adams, the U.S. surgeon general during the Trump administration, told me. “The proof is in the pudding. [Biden administration officials] haven’t done as good a job as they need with the other people out there.”

A Pacific island's Covid-19 crisis has become a political power play between China and Australia

  A Pacific island's Covid-19 crisis has become a political power play between China and Australia Pacific island Papua New Guinea is trying to keep its Covid-19 outbreak under control. Instead, it's found itself at the center of a political power play.Canberra has hit back at Beijing's claims it is derailing the rollout of Chinese vaccines in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the most-populous Pacific island nation. "We support Papua New Guinea making sovereign decisions," Australia's Minister for the Pacific, Zed Seselja, said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

A Maryland healthcare worker who had just accepted a job with the prestigious John Hopkins Hospital reportedly died after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine required for employment. Appearing skeptical, 45-year-old mom Robin Spring Saunders wrote on social media that she received her first jab on June 21 and that it was mandated by her place of work. At least one commenter on Facebook advised the family to seek legal help, as it remains to be seen if the hospital will be held liable.

[Read: The fundamental question of the pandemic is shifting]

One of the more visible officials during the Trump administration, Adams said he offered himself as an emissary of sorts for helping Biden ramp up vaccinations, but was turned away. “I was told, ‘We don’t want your help; please leave,’” Adams said. (A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Adams’ statement.) “For the group that’s vaccine-hesitant at this moment, I don’t see very many credible spokespeople that [the Biden administration has] engaged and empowered. Jill Biden goes to Nashville, and that’s great. But the people she’s trying to reach in Nashville don’t like or listen to her or her husband.”

Who might get their attention? Herschel Walker, the former football star whom Trump is trying to recruit for a U.S. senate race in Georgia, could prove a persuasive ambassador to the Trump faithful. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was infected with the virus and hospitalized last fall. He has already become something of a vaccine evangelist, and his story might be one that the Biden administration can showcase. Political figures, however, aren’t always the best ones to make the sale, White House aides told me. In devising the administration’s approach, they spent time talking with the longtime Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who held focus groups on the topic. People want to hear from trusted physicians and clergy when deciding whether to get a vaccine, Biden aides said. Andy Slavitt, who until last month was a senior adviser to Biden’s pandemic-response team, mentioned a TV-ad campaign in March in which all of the living ex-presidents—minus Trump—urged people to get shots. The ad “moved absolutely nobody,” Slavitt told me. “The feedback to that was, ‘Sorry, George W. Bush or Barack Obama are not going to convince me to take the vaccine if I’m skeptical. It’s my doctor, my pharmacist.’”

Biden tiptoes around Fox News amid pushback on Covid vaccine disinfo

  Biden tiptoes around Fox News amid pushback on Covid vaccine disinfo The White House hasn’t called out the network. Nor has it engaged it aggressively. Some supporters of the vaccine campaign say that’s a mistake.The White House has so far taken an arms-length approach to Fox, despite its strong following among supporters of former President Donald Trump, who watch the network more regularly than any other cable outlet, and are less likely to be vaccinated than the average American. Administration officials have appeared only sparingly on the network to discuss the necessity of the vaccine and counter persistent doubts about its efficacy being voiced there. And off of Fox’s airwaves, they have been reluctant to call out the network.

Just as liberals are impatient with Biden for not doing more to end a Senate filibuster rule that has blocked expanding voting rights, public-health experts are frustrated that he won’t deploy power more assertively to combat the virus. The problems are different; the pattern is the same—Biden will push conventional boundaries to a point, but not to the breaking point. “There is a real consequence to this slow vaccine rollout,” Leana Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner, told me. “We are going to hit a wall—in fact, we’ve hit that wall. Right now what the Biden administration has laid out is essentially tinkering around the edges. If we want to see dramatic results, we have to take dramatic action.”

One option that administration officials have privately discussed is requiring the 2.1 million members of the federal workforce to get vaccinated, a senior official told me. (Private employers are already free to demand that their workers be vaccinated before returning to the office.) As commander in chief, Biden could also order all 1.3 million members of the active-duty military to get injections. “We get shots for everything,” H. R. McMaster, a retired Army general and former national security adviser under Trump, told me. “And the vaccine is far from experimental, like the botulinum vaccine was prior to Desert Storm” in 1991. (Military leaders have signaled that they might require COVID-19 shots for troops once the FDA gives full approval to the vaccines, which could happen this fall.)

'The glue that is holding us all together': Joe Biden rides herd on Democrats ahead of tough 2022 election cycle

  'The glue that is holding us all together': Joe Biden rides herd on Democrats ahead of tough 2022 election cycle Biden has been a driving force as the Democratic National Committee gears up for the 2022 elections in which control of Congress is at stake.But behind the scenes, the chief executive is playing another role: Democratic Party leader.

Any attempt to change Americans’ behavior might also focus on the conspiracism that surrounds the vaccines. A recent poll found that 44 percent of Republicans believe that Bill Gates wants to use the injections to burrow subcutaneous microchips in an unsuspecting population. Eric Topol, a molecular-medicine professor at Scripps Research, says he’s privately told Biden-administration officials that they need to be far more systematic in debunking misinformation. “I’ve talked to several officials in that leadership group and said to them, ‘Why are you not mounting a counteroffensive and calling out these people?’” he told me. “I’ve gotten nowhere. They say, ‘We don’t want to get into that.’” (Yesterday, Murthy released a 22-page advisory warning of a blizzard of misinformation that has “led people to decline the COVID-19 vaccines.”)

None of the bolder steps that Biden could take seems to be gaining traction inside the White House. The notion of compulsory vaccinations for federal workers has fallen flat. Biden wouldn’t even mandate vaccinations for the 1,000-some guests who showed up to eat pulled pork and popcorn at his July 4 celebration on the White House’s South Lawn. “One of the concerns about central mandates is that you’re going to get a lot of pushback politically on that because people don’t like the federal government to mandate anything, and that’s the reason they’re staying away from that,” said one Biden-administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk about internal deliberations.

Joe Biden Outlines Timeline for COVID-19 Vaccinations in Children

  Joe Biden Outlines Timeline for COVID-19 Vaccinations in Children President Biden told a town hall in Ohio when he thought children under the age of 12 would be able to get their shots—subject to scientific data.Speaking at a CNN town hall in Cincinnati on Wednesday, President Biden said the decision would be led by scientific data, but added that he expected the rollout to begin between the end of August and October.

That’s no baseless fear. Both Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado have invoked Nazi Germany when describing a more tepid program in which the Biden administration is sending people house-to-house to encourage vaccinations. Even more reasonable voices in the GOP are wary of anything that smacks of a mandate. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, is open to fresh ways to spur vaccinations, having set up a $1 million lottery and scholarship program as an incentive. When I asked him about requiring vaccinations, though, DeWine told me: “We’re not going to do that in Ohio. It simply would not be accepted.” He predicted a “groundswell of opposition to any kind of requirement like that.” Only about 60 percent of the state’s adult population has gotten at least one dose of a vaccine, ranking Ohio 39th of all the states and territories in terms of vaccine uptake.

[Conor Friedersdorf: Put Anthony Fauci in a dunk tank]

In speeches over the past six months, Biden has at times made vague references to the Trump administration’s work in producing viable vaccines in the first year of the pandemic. More often, he resorts to the standard trope of praising his own record in cleaning up what he calls “the mess we inherited.” He’s not wrong about the mess. And you can hardly blame Biden for distancing himself from a president who downplayed the pandemic, belittled masks, and, for good measure, now leads a movement bent on razing American democracy. If Biden wants to reach the Trump loyalists, though, he might consider spotlighting the Trump administration’s vaccine-development drive. He “had an opportunity to do that months ago, and probably should have done it,” Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster, told me. Newhouse said he’s tested a message that could potentially sway at least a portion of Trump supporters: emphasizing that the vaccines were an initiative of the ex-president. “What a surprise!” Newhouse said. “The Trump message works better for people who voted for Donald Trump! You know what? A helluva lot of those people are not vaccinated right now.”

As Delta variant spreads, some conservatives course correct on vaccines ahead of 2022 midterms

  As Delta variant spreads, some conservatives course correct on vaccines ahead of 2022 midterms Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey's blunt message that unvaccinated people are letting the nation down capped a week where some Republicans finally seemed ready to abandon their dangerous coddling of Covid-19 vaccine skeptics and push Americans to get the shot. © Stephen Zenner/Getty Images BUFFALO, WV - MARCH 26: A Premise Health healthcare worker loads a syringe with the Covid-19 Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine as part of a collaborative effort from the West Virginia National Guard, FamilyCare Health Centers and Toyota to vaccinate Toyota employees on March 26, 2021 in Buffalo, West Virginia.

Intermediaries have approached Trumpworld and asked that he tout the vaccines at future rallies. A scenario they’d like to see is Trump directing the crowd to a pop-up vaccination clinic on-site. John Bridgeland, a co-founder of Covid Collaborative, a group that has consulted with the Biden administration on combatting the virus, says that if Trump were to tell his followers that the vaccines are “safe and effective” and steer them to a nearby vaccination site, “I know there would be increased uptake.” He told me that he’s broached the idea with a former senior Trump White House official. But helpful public-service announcements that align with Biden’s goals would be completely out of character for the 45th president. So far, Trump hasn’t shown any interest, Bridgeland said. (A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.) “The burden isn’t on Trump to do anything,” Bryan Lanza, a former Trump-campaign aide, told me. “The burden is on Biden to push on the promises he made to the American people.”

Biden’s dilemma illustrates how America has cleaved along partisan lines. He’s governing at a time when basic reality has become a game of choose your own adventure. Millions of Americans came away from the 2020 election believing that the losing candidate had actually won. Many of the same people look at a vaccine with a remarkable degree of efficacy and see a billionaire plotting to control their life. In April, the average vaccination rate in counties won by Biden was about 23 percent, compared with 21 percent in counties won by Trump, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data. That two-point gap ballooned to nearly 12 points this month.

Biden is working from an outdated script. During Obama’s presidency, the White House scrambled to get young people signed up for health-care coverage, his signature accomplishment. In 2014, Obama appeared with the actor Zach Galifianakis on the comedy show Between Two Ferns in hopes of reaching more young people. (“Why would you get the guy that created the Zune to make your website?” Galifianakis asked Obama.) “We were eagerly trying to get people enrolled, and we learned a lot about what reaches particular audiences,” Cecilia Munoz, then Obama’s domestic-policy adviser, told me. “Between Two Ferns drove the mainstream media nuts. He got a lot of criticism for it being undignified. But it was hugely impactful with the audience we were trying to reach.”

The trouble here is that the audience just isn’t the same; the audience may well be unreachable. “It’s a problem that shows up with vaccines, with respect to other kinds of issues too,” continued Munoz, who lost a family member to COVID-19. “We are not operating from a common set of facts anymore.”

As Delta variant spreads, some conservatives course correct on vaccines ahead of 2022 midterms .
Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey's blunt message that unvaccinated people are letting the nation down capped a week where some Republicans finally seemed ready to abandon their dangerous coddling of Covid-19 vaccine skeptics and push Americans to get the shot. © Stephen Zenner/Getty Images BUFFALO, WV - MARCH 26: A Premise Health healthcare worker loads a syringe with the Covid-19 Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine as part of a collaborative effort from the West Virginia National Guard, FamilyCare Health Centers and Toyota to vaccinate Toyota employees on March 26, 2021 in Buffalo, West Virginia.

See also