Kamala Harris will visit Atlanta next week to promote coronavirus vaccination

12/21/2020 — Columbus, Georgia — Vice President-elect Kamala Harris greets a crowd of supporters gathered during a car rally in Columbus, Georgia, Monday, December 21, 2020. Vice President-elect Harris was in Georgia stumping for US Senate Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Rahpael Warnock.  (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
12/21/2020 — Columbus, Georgia — Vice President-elect Kamala Harris greets a crowd of supporters gathered during a car rally in Columbus, Georgia, Monday, December 21, 2020. Vice President-elect Harris was in Georgia stumping for US Senate Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Rahpael Warnock. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Atlanta next Friday as part of a nationwide tour to encourage more Americans to receive coronavirus vaccinations, a trip that comes as state health officials race to improve inoculation rates.

The White House said Harris’ trip to Atlanta will highlight the ease of receiving vaccinations and mobilize education efforts to target Georgians who have yet to be inoculated. The vice president will also visit Greenville, S.C. on Monday as part of the tour.

The demand for Covid-19 vaccinations in Georgia has fallen so sharply that the state has turned down millions of doses allocated by the federal government, telling public health agencies to distribute the life-saving vaccines elsewhere.

And the state’s vaccination rate remains well below the national average. About 52% of Georgia adults had received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with the 64% national average. Only about 35% of Georgians have completed their vaccinations.

Meanwhile, health officials say the highly contagious “delta” variant first seen in India has recently been detected in Georgia, lending new urgency to the ongoing campaign to press more people to get vaccinated to contain the spread of the disease.

Nationally, healthcare providers administered an average of about 1.14 million doses per day over the last week. That’s about a 66 percent decrease from the peak of 3.38 million reported on April 13.

Harris’ visit is part of President Joe Biden’s “National Month of Action” initiative to meet his goal of partly vaccinating at least 70% of U.S. adults by July 4.

The White House has announced free childcare for parents while they receive their doses, outlined splashy incentives from private companies such as free sports tickets and launched a canvassing program that sends thousands of people door-to-door in neighborhoods near walk-in clinics to encourage residents to get their shots.

So far, at least 13 states have met Biden’s Independence Day goal: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

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