Beyond Fauci, press secretary Jen Psaki has pushed back on Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — a lawmaker she once said she’d not mention from the podium — who compared the administration’s vaccine campaign to Nazis. Jeff Zients, the White House’s Covid response director, rebuked Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, who contended falsely in a tweet that government “agents” were going door-to-door to “compel vaccination.”
Biden allied groups, including the Democratic National Committee, are also planning to engage fact-checkers more aggressively and work with SMS carriers to dispel misinformation about vaccines that is sent over social media and text messages. The goal is to ensure that people who may have difficulty getting a vaccination because of issues like transportation see those barriers lessened or removed entirely.
“We are steadfastly committed to keeping politics out of the effort to get every American vaccinated so that we can save lives and help our economy further recover,” White House spokesperson Kevin Munoz said. “When we see deliberate efforts to spread misinformation, we view that as an impediment to the country’s public health and will not shy away from calling that out.”
The pushback is a change of tone and approach from earlier this year, when the White House often chose to ignore its most vocal conservative critics out of a desire not to elevate them. It is a tacit acknowledgment that the July 4 goal of 70 percent vaccination nationwide was overly optimistic, if not naive. And it underscores that two realities are setting in: It’s becoming more difficult to convince vaccine-skeptics to get their shots (of the 10 least vaccinated states, all were won by Donald Trump in 2020) and the anti-vaccine voices, already vocal in the country, are becoming more mainstreamed by Republicans eager to oppose Biden-led initiatives.