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Jill Biden's Florida Visit Part Of Vaccine Plan Targeting ‘Movable Middle’

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Rogelio V. Solis
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

From the first lady in South to the first gentleman in more than a dozen more states, the Biden administration is sending A-listers to push COVID shots on those seen as persuadable.

Jill Biden's visit to Florida last week was part of a Biden administration strategy that has the trappings of a political campaign, complete with data crunching to identify groups that can be won over.

But the message is about public health, not ideology.

On Thursday, when the first lady held the hand of a woman at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Kissimmee, her husband, President Joe Biden, was at a mobile vaccination site in North Carolina.

Earlier in the week, the first lady was in Tennessee and Mississippi.

Meantime, Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, has flown to 18 or 19 states by his count promoting the coronavirus shots.

Thrown off-stride to reach its vaccination goal, the president is sending A-list officials across the country, devising ads for niche markets and enlisting community organizers to persuade unvaccinated people to get a shot.

And the administration has recruited sports teams, celebrities and more:.

  • The first lady and Dr. Anthony Fauci passed through Amalie Arena a few hours after her Kissimmee visit to take part in a Tampa Bay Lightning vaccination event.
  • Brad Paisley has made a pitch to country music fans. taken part.
  • Twitch and Riot Games reached out to gamers.
  • Panera and Chipotle are offering free food to those getting a shot.

The focus is a group that health officials term the “movable middle” — some 55 million unvaccinated adults seen as persuadable, many of them under 30. Most are not college educated, and political independents predominate. Black and Latino adults are likely to fall in this category.

The effort comes as the White House acknowledges it will miss Biden's goal of 70% of American adults getting at least one shot by July Fourth. An AP analysis says it will be late July at the earliest before that many arms are reached.

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