By Nikhila Natarajan
New York, Jul 7 (IANS): US President Joe Biden is urging young Americans to "think twice" and get vaccinated even as the rise of the more transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant now accounts for 50 per cent of virus cases in many parts of the country.
"It seems to me it should cause everybody to think twice, and it should cause reconsideration especially among young people," Biden said on Tuesday at the White House, signalling urgency to boost vaccinations over the summer months.
As on date, more than 182 million Americans have received at least one shot, including nearly 90 per cent of seniors and 70 per cent of adults over the age of 27, according to White House data. Covid-19 cases and deaths are down by 90 per cent since January.
The White House Covid response team is now shifting its focus to getting vaccines to family doctors who serve younger people. Biden hopes this approach of meeting people "where they are" will help adolescents ages 12 to 18 to get vaccinated when they go for back-to-school check-ups or sports physicals.
Biden reminded Americans that since May this year, almost every Covid-19 hospitalisation and death in the US has been among the unvaccinated.
"So, please get vaccinated now. It works. It's free. And it's never been easier, and it's never been more important. Do it now -- for yourself and the people you care about; for your neighbourhood; for your country," Biden said. "It sounds corny, but it's a patriotic thing to do."
Nearly 3 in 10 Americans say they are not likely to get vaccinated, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll published last week. In the same poll, 2 in 10 said they will definitely not get the shot.
US accounts for the world's highest Covid-19 caseload and deaths. According to the Johns Hopkins Covid-19 dashboard, the virus is responsible for 605,887 deaths in the US alone, since it arrived on the country's west coast in January 2020.