From the North Lawn of the White House, President Joe Biden commended Americans and his administration for the “stunning progress” of the vaccine rollout in the United States and the drop in COVID-19-related deaths. Biden also commented on the newest CDC guidelines for COVID-19 mitigation, which advise that fully vaccinated Americans can now attend small gatherings outside without a mask. Fully vaccinated means it has been two weeks since a second dose of a Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or a single does of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Unvaccinated Americans, however, should still wear a mask.

“The bottom line is clear: If you’re vaccinated, you can do more things, more safely, both outdoors as well as indoors,” Biden told reporters. “So for those who haven’t gotten their vaccination yet — especially if you’re younger, or thinking you don’t need it — this is another great reason to go get vaccinated. Now. Now.”

Biden urged that as more Americans are vaccinated, the closer the country gets to “back closer to normal.” “Go get the shot,” Biden said. “It’s never been easier. And once you’re fully vaccinated, you can go without a mask when you’re outside, and away from big crowds.”

Biden then congratulated health officials and commended them for the rapidly increasing vaccination rate among American senior citizens. “When I took office in January, we were losing literally tens of thousands of our seniors each week. Grandparents who are loved so dearly, moms and dads, pillars of every community, gone by the thousands every day. At that time, less than 1% of seniors were fully vaccinated when I took office. Today, in less than 100 days, more than 67%, two-thirds of our seniors, are now fully vaccinated. And more than 80% of our seniors have had at least one shot. That effort resulted in a drop of 80% in deaths among American seniors. A 70% drop in hospitalizations,” Biden said.

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