Biden marks COVID-19 vaccination milestone, zeros in on Black communities

During the pre-taped White House virtual Black History Month event on Friday, there will be an emphasis on vaccinations targeting at Black Americans

President Joe Biden is marking a milestone of 50 million COVID-19 vaccinations during his administration. As he is recognizing this moment, the White House is focused on issues of getting more people vaccinated.  

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the more than 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in the Cross Hall of the White House February 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is making an appeal for those in the military community to get vaccinated. 

Read More: Vaccine access codes for Black community improperly used by wealthy LA residents

During Friday’s pre-taped White House virtual Black History Month event, there will also be an emphasis on vaccinations targeting Black Americans, a community that has been skeptical of the vaccine due to historic medical research studies that have used and abused Black people. The two most cited studies are the Tuskegee syphilis study, also known as the Tuskegee Experiment, and the story of Henrietta Lacks whose cancer cells were used for research at Johns Hopkins Hospital without her or her family’s consent.

Henrietta Lacks
Cells taken from Henrietta Lacks, shown in the 1940s, eventually helped lead to a multitude of medical treatments. But neither she nor her family gave consent. (NBC News) Credit: Credit: John Hopkins University/Lacks Family

There is a maximum effort by the Biden administration for vaccinations and mask-wearing to decrease the number of people contracting and dying from COVID-19. The CDC is even calling for Americans to double up on mask use by wearing two at a time.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled Thursday to a local pharmacy promoting the administration’s Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 vaccinations. White House officials have said that through the pharmacy program, the administration increased distribution from one to two million doses to 7,000 pharmacies across the country in the past week alone. Over the past five weeks, there has been nearly a 70 percent increase in vaccine allocation.

Read More: Beyond 100M: Biden team aiming for bigger vaccine numbers

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (L), and President Joe Biden (Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images)

The administration also says since Feb. 11 the federal government began to deliver vaccines directly to select pharmacies across the country. This provides more sites for people to get vaccinated in their own communities and it is an important component to delivering vaccines equitably.

This pharmacy program will expand access in neighborhoods across the country so people can make appointments and get their shots conveniently and quickly. The retail pharmacy program has performed well so far, despite also being impacted by the weather.

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