Speaking at the National Institutes of Health on Thursday, President Biden described the administration’s strategy to combat COVID-19 this winter.
JOE BIDEN: Today, I'm back to announce our action plan to battle COVID-19 this winter-- not that any of us are surprised [INAUDIBLE] because it's the combined advice from all of you that we developed this plan. And it doesn't include shutdowns or lockdowns, but widespread vaccinations, and boosters, and testing, and a lot more.
There are five key actions that I want to see us take this winter. First of all, expanding the nationwide booster campaign with more outreach, more appointments, more hours, more times, and sites to walk in providing booster shots for up to 110 million Americans who are eligible for boosters.
And I want you to know parenthetically-- I was talking to one of my folks who does polling and national strategy-- and he said there's some evidence in one poll-- I won't mention it because I'm not positive of the number-- was told this as I was leaving the White House-- that there is an expectation that 30% of the non-vaccinated who said under no circumstances would I get a vaccination because of the new variant are now saying, I'm going to get a vaccination. So we hope that's true. I hope that's true.
But the second point is that launching new family vaccination clinics to make it easier for children, parents, and whole families to get vaccinated in one place, and new policies to keep our children in school instead of quarantining them at home-- I'll talk about the detail of each of these in a moment. The third piece of this is making free at-home tests more available than ever before and having them covered by your private insurance plans, available in thousands of locations, and available at community health centers and other sites for the uninsured who don't have insurance.
For increasing our surge response teams that are our doctors, our nurses-- I know people in this audience know incredibly well about what a surge team is, but medical staff into communities with rising cases, and overburdened hospitals, and short on personnel. And by the way, they make a gigantic difference. The governors, Republican governors as well as Democratic governors, contact me when I go into their states, talk about thank you for these surge teams, because it really makes a difference.
Some communities are just hit so much harder than others. They just-- they just can't make it without what we're going to do-- I'll speak to this in more detail in a second. The fifth thing we're doing is accelerate efforts to vaccinate the rest of the world and strengthen the international travel rules for people coming to the United States. My plan I'm announcing today pulls no punches in the fight against COVID-19 and it's a plan that I think should unite us.
I know COVID-19 has been very divisive in this country. It's become a political issue, which is a sad, sad commentary. It shouldn't be, but it has been. Now, as we move into the winter and face the challenges of this new variant, this is a moment we can put the divisiveness behind us, I hope.
This is a moment we can do what we haven't been able to do enough of through this whole pandemic-- get the nation to come together, unite the nation in a common purpose-- to fight this virus, to protect one another, to protect our economic recovery, and to think of it in terms of literally a patriotic responsibility rather than somehow you're denying people their basic rights. The plan I'm announcing today is a plan our scientists and COVID teams have recommended.
And while my existing federal vaccination requirements are being reviewed by the courts, this plan does not expand or add to those mandates-- a plan that all Americans hopefully can rally around and should get bipartisan support, in my humble opinion. And it should unite us, not continue to separate us.