Updated Jun 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration targeting "movable middle" in new vaccine push

FLOTUS and country singer Brad Paisley
First lady Jill Biden, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and singer-songwriter Brad Paisley tour a Pop-Up Vaccination site at Ole Smoky Distillery on June 22 in Nashville. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

The Biden administration is sending their A-list officials — and actual celebrities — across the country, devising ads for niche markets and enlisting community organizers in a major vaccine push, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: President Biden had previously set a goal of vaccinating 70% of U.S. adults with at least one dose by July 4. However, the White House has recently acknowledged that it is likely to miss that goal.

  • Though 70% of Americans 30 and above have received at least one shot, the vaccination rates have slowed since April — with significant gaps in the South and Midwest and unvaccinated young people causing projections to be off-target.
  • In at least four states, fewer than 50% of the population is vaccinated.

The state of play: The administration's renewed efforts are directed toward a group of nearly 55 million unvaccinated adults seen as persuadable and referred to by health officials as "the movable middle."

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told AP: "We’re not just going to do the mass vaccination sites."
    • “It’s door to door. It’s mobile clinics," he said, adding: "We’re doing vaccinations at church, the PTA meeting, the barber shop, the grocery store."
  • Celebrities and athletes alike have been recruited as part of the vaccine push, with the White House lending top names as well, per AP. Though it's unclear whether the campaign is working yet.
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