President Joe Biden has expressed pointed frustration over the slowing Covid-19 vaccination rate in the US and pleaded that it is “gigantically important” for Americans to get inoculated against the virus as it surges once again.
Mr Biden, speaking at a televised town hall in Cincinnati, said the public health crisis has turned largely into a plight of the unvaccinated as the spread of the delta variant has led to a surge in infections around the country.
He said on the CNN town hall: “We have a pandemic for those who haven’t gotten the vaccination — it’s that basic, that simple.”
The president also expressed optimism that children under 12 will be approved for vaccination in the coming months. But he displayed exasperation that so many eligible Americans are still reluctant to get a shot.
Mr Biden said: “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalised, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die.
“So it’s gigantically important that … we all act like Americans who care about our fellow Americans.”
US hospitalisations and deaths are nearly all among the unvaccinated. But Covid-19 cases nearly tripled in the US over two weeks amid an onslaught of vaccine misinformation that is straining hospitals, exhausting doctors and pushing clergy into the fray.
Across the country, the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases rose over the past two weeks to more than 37,000 on Tuesday, up from less than 13,700 on July 6, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Just 56.2% of Americans have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.