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Biden says 'just do it' on COVID vaccine as he joins Jill and Fauci's bid to get more shots in arms 

President Joe Biden toured a mobile vaccine unit in North Carolina on Thursday while Jill Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci surprised people at a drive-up clinic in Florida.

The stops and photo ops were a team effort as the White House pushes its 'month of action' to get more shots in arms. The tour comes vaccination rates are declining in states in the South and Western parts of the country and the threat of the Delta variant is growing.

'It's the greatest threat against our fight to beat COVID-19,' Biden said of the Delta strain.

'The best way to protect yourself against the virus and its variants, is to be fully vaccinated,' the president said. 'The data couldn't be clear, if you're vaccinated, you're safe.'

'Just do it,' he said as the crowd cheered.  

Biden also directed his remarks toward people of color where the vaccination rate is lower. 

'The more we close the racial gap in the vaccination rates, the more lives we can save,' he said. 

At the clinic, the president thanked medical staff and volunteers for their work getting shots in arms. He also spoke with four people waiting to get their shots, asking them their ages and thanking them for getting vaccinated.  

President Biden was greeted with shouts of 'Uncle Joe' and 'We love you' when he made his remarks on the pandemic at the Green Road Community Center. The crowd, made of a volunteers to do canvassing efforts to get people vaccinated, was made up of mainly African Americans and Latinos. The president gave them a wave and thumbs' up. 

Members of the Tampa Bay Lighting hockey team joined the first lady and Fauci in Tampa. 

The message was to get vaccinated.  

'Even when we're all really busy, we all can do our part,' Jill Biden said, referring to the Lightning being the Stanley Cup semifinals.

'There are some things that transcend even hockey,' she noted. 'Getting Americans vaccinated is one of them.' 

She pointed out that people who get their vaccine that day can win tickets to Friday's game hockey game. 

The first lady and Fauci were at a pop-up clinic at the hockey arena. Both ventured out onto the ice great people getting vaccinated. 

'I wanted to be on the ice, and this is a unique experience. I’m so happy to be here,' Jill Biden said. 

She also met a young girl who had her eight-month old service dog named Wilbur with her. 

President Joe Biden told people 'just do it' when it comes to getting the COVID vaccine

Jill Biden met a young girl who had her eight-month old service dog named Wilbur with her

Jill Biden makes remarks during a vaccination event hosted by the Tampa Bay Lightning at AMALIE Arena, in Tampa

President Joe Biden, next to doctor Rasheeda Monroe, speaks with WakeMed vaccinators after visiting a mobile vaccination unit at the Green Road Community Center in Raleigh, N.C.

President Biden speaks with people waiting to get their COVID shot

Biden spoke to volunteers who are preparing to go out and canvass for the vaccine

First Lady Jill Biden and White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci greet residents getting vaccinations at the Osceola Community Health Services drive-through

The first lady and Dr. Fauci were in Florida to encourage people to get vaccinated

Jill Biden and Dr. Fauci arrive to tour the pop-up clinic

Thursday marked an all-administration effort from Biden officials as the Delta variant causes concern among health officials about a potential surge in COVID cases.  

Vice President Kamala Harris met virtually with local community groups and members that are doing the grassroots work to encourage vaccinations.

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy held a press call on the administration's efforts to get young people vaccinated. 

The White House is pushing hard to raise vaccination rates - particularly among younger adults who have a lower one compared to older members of the population. 

In North Carolina, 55 percent of adults have had one COVID shot, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Officials are emphasizing the new Delta strain of COVID, which is 60% more contagious, and causing an increased number of coronavirus cases in some Southern and Western states.

The Delta variant is responsible for about one in five COVID cases in the U.S., and its prevalence has doubled in the last two weeks. The variant was first identified in India, where officials are struggling to combat the disease. 

The strain also is likely to cause a stronger case of COVID but the current vaccines are around 90% effective against it.  

First lady Jill Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci arrive in Orlando, Florida, to try and reverse the declining trend in vaccinations 

They will visit a drive through vaccine site and one at a hockey arena - with the Tampa Bay Lighting team

The pair met Rep, Darren Soto and his wife Amanda Soto as the first lady continued her vaccination tour 

Jill Biden arrives at Joint Base Andrews - she's headed to Florida to combat vaccine hesitancy

Jill Biden will tour a mobile vaccine clinic in Florida with Dr. Anthony Fauci

In a video posted to Biden's social media accounts on Thursday, Fauci warned that younger people are at greater risk of getting infected thanks to the new Delta strain. 

Fauci pointed out the Delta variant is 'transmitted much more efficiently, which means the chances of getting infected upon exposure is greater.'

'Anyone who is not vaccinated are most at risk,' he warned. 'Younger people are less likely to be vaccinated and that puts the entire cohort of younger people at greater risk.'

He added: 'The way you stop this Delta variant is to get vaccinated.'

The push comes as the White House has said it will go ahead with its July 4th celebrations even as the administration failed to meet its goal of getting 70% of adults partially vaccinated by Independence Day.

Officials are still urging shots in arms as the holiday - which typically features large gatherings of people to barbeque and watch fireworks - approaches.  

In North Carolina the vaccination rate is falling week by week with the weekly rate of vaccinations in the state has dropped by 83% since April.  

At the current pace of vaccinations, North Carolina isn't expected to meet Biden's goal of 70% of adults vaccinated until November, The Raleigh News & Observer calculated.

Health officials in the state have unveiled a variety of financial incentives to get shots in arms, including a $1 million cash jackpot to be given to four randomly selected North Carolinians who have been vaccinated. 

Of the 10 states with the lowest vaccination rates, eight are in the South and, four - Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Wyoming - have yet to partially vaccinate half of those aged 18 and older. 

Daily doses administered have fallen by as much as 90 percent since the spring.

Health officials warn regional surges of COVID cases are possible as the Delta variant gains steam. Those officials also note such outbreaks are avoidable if people get vaccinated.

'The Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate Covid-19,' Fauci warned at a COVID briefing on Wednesday.

'There will be local, type of regional outbreaks,' he noted, saying it was 'totally and completely avoidable by getting vaccinated.'  

As of Wednesday, 65.5 percent of adults in the U.S. have received at least an initial dose, and experts say boosting rates in the Southern states will be key to beating back the virus. 

Officials in the Biden administration are on a national tour to as part of their efforts to boost vaccination rates and combat vaccine hesitancy.

Jill Biden was in Mississippi and Tennessee on Tuesday. On Thursday, the first lady will be in Kissimmee and Tampa, Florida, where the Tampa Bay Lighting hockey team will join her in encouraging people to get vaccinated. Only 44 per cent of the state's population is fully vaccinated.

Vice President Kamala Harris kicked off the vaccination tour last week, making two Southern stops - in Greenville, South Carolina, and Atlanta.

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff was in Chicago on Wednesday.

The push comes after Biden 's administration conceded Tuesday that it will fall short of its goal of having partially vaccinated 70 per cent of adult Americans by July 4th - but officials vowed they would 'crush' COVID-19 and said they have incentives in the work to raise the vaccination rate.

Officials blamed the missed goal - of having one shot in the arm of 70% of adult Americans - because of the slow vaccination rate among 18-to-26-year-olds.

'The country has more work to do, particularly with 18-to-26 year-olds. The reality is many younger Americans have felt like COVID-19 is not something that impacts them, and they've been less eager to get the shot,' Jeffrey Zients, the head of the White House COVID response team, said at a press briefing.

'It'll take a few extra weeks to get to 70% of all adults with at least one shot with the 18-to-26-year-olds factored in,' he added.

He also conceded the White House would fall short on Biden's goal to have 150 million Americans fully vaccinated by Independence Day, coming in a few weeks late.

'We will hit 160 million Americans fully vaccinated no later than mid July,' he said.

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