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White House ‘month of action’ continues as Second Gentleman Emhoff goes to Tallahassee

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 12:23 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff is off to Tallahassee, FL Thursday as part of a COVID-19 vaccine promotion tour.

The White House is sending administration officials around the country to plead with different areas to get the shot as part of its month of action. White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz said he knows the Biden administration can get more people in Florida vaccinated to meet its goals.

“We’re certainly looking at places across the country, at places where we can increase vaccination rates,” Munoz said. “We know the second gentleman is particularly interested in boosting vaccination rates across all communities.”

President Joe Biden wants 70 percent of Americans vaccinated by the 4th of July. Munoz says trips like these can help achieve that goal.

Florida’s vaccination rate is nearly on par with the U.S. average, with around half of Floridians receiving shots. The White House wants to boost those numbers, especially with the new Indian variant spreading in the U.S.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a press conference Tuesday that the spread of this strain, called the Delta variant, is another reason why it is important to get vaccinated. Though a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccine gave poor protection against the new variant, Dr. Fauci says two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were shown to be 88 percent effective.

Emhoff will visit a vaccination clinic Thursday and encourage people to roll up their sleeves if they have not done so already.

“The focus is making sure that we make it incredibly clear the stakes that we are at if you’re unvaccinated in this country,” Munoz said.

Polling shows conservatives are among the least likely to get vaccinated, so the White House is hoping leaders from both sides of the aisle will help in their mission.

“I hope people get their vaccine,” said Senator Rick Scott (R-FL). “I hope they get back to traveling. It’s a big part of our economy.”

Scott said the administration’s vaccine push is great, but he thinks there are better uses of Emhoff’s time than going to Tallahassee for this event. He added that getting vaccinated is a personal decision.

“Everybody has their individual right to make a decision whether they think it’s necessary for their health,” Scott said.

The second gentleman will return to Washington Thursday night, but Munoz says the White House plans to deploy him elsewhere as the month of action continues.

Grace Ferguson contributed to this report.

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