“Already, we’re seeing momentum in vaccination requirements across the country, businesses know vaccinations are a way to keep their workers and customers safe and to keep their doors open,” White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said as he kicked off a rare second White House Covid-19 response team briefing of the week, an effort to hone messaging after a confusing stretch of days.
Zients applauded businesses big and small — including Saffron, a small business in New Orleans requiring proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test; 650 colleges and universities requiring on-campus employee and student vaccination; a mandate from historically Black medical schools; and a mandate for health care workers at Kaiser Permanente. He also highlighted a new feature in the Yelp app that lets customers search for businesses with fully vaccinated workers or requires proof of vaccination to enter the business.
“Our message is quite simple: We support these vaccination requirements to protect workers, communities and the country,” Zients said.
“Clearly, Americans are seeing the impact of being unvaccinated and unprotected. And they’re responded by doing their part, rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated,” Zients said.
In the states with the highest case rates — Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Mississippi — people are getting vaccinated at “a pace not seen since April,” he said, adding that Tennessee has seen a 90% increase in first shots over the past two weeks, Oklahoma has seen an 82% increase, and Georgia has seen a 66% increase in first shots over the past two weeks.
Zients also told reporters that the Biden administration’s Covid-19 surge response teams are now working with 16 states on specific needs, with “hundreds” of federal personnel deployed to help throughout the country, including support for testing, mobile vaccination clinics, and helping address hospital capacity issues.