President Biden has faith that most Americans will get the COVID-19 vaccine sooner or later.
Biden took an optimistic tone in an interview with MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell that aired Wednesday, during which “The Last Word” host suggested that the vaccination campaign was running into “partisan resistance … among people, many of whom fail what is a basic mental competency test.
“‘Who is the president of the United States?’ They actually get that question wrong,” O’Donnell continued before asking Biden, “How are you going to convince them to get the vaccine?”
“They’re showing up,” Biden responded. “All this stuff about vaccine hesitancy — the truth of the matter is more and more and more people are getting the vaccine. And so, I’ve never believed that there would be a large percentage of Americans who wouldn’t get the vaccine.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 154 million Americans had received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose as of Wednesday, while 117.6 million Americans were fully vaccinated. Those figures account for 46.4% and 35.4% of the US population, respectively.
To encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, some states are giving residents perks for the shot.Jacquelyn Martin/AP
“When your neighbor gets a vaccine, your next-door neighbor gets it, you say, ‘Well, maybe I should get it,’” Biden said. “And no matter what your position was, when you see people in a position where you can easily get the vaccine, you don’t have to go way out of your way.”
Some states are hoping to improve vaccination numbers with various incentives. In Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that beginning May 26, the state lottery will give away $1 million each to five people who have received at least one vaccine dose.
Earlier this month, New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced that residents 21 and older who get their first vaccine shot in May would be eligible for a free beer at one of 13 Garden State breweries.
In Maine, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills announced Tuesday that residents who get a vaccine dose before the end of the month would qualify to receive perks like a fishing or hunting license or an L.L. Bean gift card.
President Biden thinks vaccine hesitancy has been overstated.Evan Vucci/AP
“People are showing up, and people are showing up across the board,” Biden repeated.
The vaccination drive got another boost Tuesday when a CDC panel approved Pfizer’s two-shot COVID vaccine for use in kids between the ages of 12 and 15, raising hope of a more normal school year for children across America in 2021.