The Biden administration came up short of its goal to have 70 percent of all adult Americans receive at least one COVID-19 vaccination by July 4. So on Tuesday it rolled out a new plan to take vaccination "door-to-door" and hopefully bolster flagging participation.
But even as the White House worries of a virus resurgence because of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID, its latest plan isn't sitting well with many, particularly among conservative Republicans.
Indeed, critics were quick to pan it as overly intrusive.
"Now we need to go community to community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oft-times door to door, literally knocking on doors to get help to the remaining people," President Joe Biden said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
The White House has been championing participation in vaccination for months, saying the injections underwent rigorous scientific review and are safe for the vast majority of recipients.
The "targeted community-by-community, door-to-door outreach" to increase COVID-19 vaccine awareness was highlighted as the first of a five-step vaccination outreach plan, Biden press secretary Jen Psaki said at the daily press briefing.
Psaki said the initial piece of the plan is "to get remaining Americans vaccinated by ensuring they have the information they need on how both safe and accessible the vaccine is."
The other pieces of the plan:
Vaccine distribution to primary-care physicians.
Vaccine distribution to pediatricians to reach children 12-18.
Work-place vaccination clinics.
Mobile vaccination clinics.
Immunization rates have fallen off though, despite the president's plans and attempts at sounding an encouraging message. Many remain convinced that the COVID risks are overstated, or that the side effects seen with some vaccinations merit greater caution and examination. There also remain some who feel the vaccines were rolled out too quickly to have been thoroughly tested.
The door-to-door component of Biden's new plan quickly came under attack among congressional Republicans, who in this case largely derided the idea as a stark example of government overreach.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., called it a governmental invasion of privacy, tweeting:
"It's NONE of the governments business knowing who has or hasn't been vaccinated."
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., noted the outreach is going to be unpopular with conservatives, tweeting:
"A lot of people have big government antibodies. Don't knock on those doors."
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., tweeted she holds a pro-choice vaccination position: A similar position had many Americans objecting to being urged to wear masks as the pandemic raged, with some questioning even the scientists and medical personnel advocating for the protective gear.
On Tuesday, Boebert's tweet on door-to-door vaccination had this to say:
"The government now wants to go door-to-door to convince you to get an 'optional' vaccine."
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, tweeted he would like to be "left" out, conjuring the image of government improperly assuming a parental role:
"How about don't knock on my door. You're not my parents. You're the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose. Why is that concept so hard for the left?"
Criticism was not restricted to incumbents. Conservatives who are seeking 2022 election and not currently in Congress felt inclined to slam the door on the door-to-door plan.
Running for Senate, former Rep. Sean Parnell, R-Pa., tweeted a simple message of opposition.
For his part, GOP strategist Matt Whitlock mocked the plan as the "Beto O'Rourke of vaccine outreach," saying whoever came up with it should be fired. He tweeted:
"Whoever suggested that the best way to reach remaining vaccine skeptics was to talk about going door to door should be fired immediately. It's the Beto O'Rourke of vaccine outreach"
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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