GOP lawmaker John Katko urges Biden to declare ‘COVID-19 Vaccination Awareness Day’

WASHINGTON – As the United States surpasses 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations, a GOP lawmaker is calling on President Joe Biden to declare “National COVID-19 Vaccination Awareness Day” as a one-time federal holiday.

In a bill, introduced last week, Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., calls on Biden to take executive action to declare a one-time federal vaccination awareness holiday to promote and encourage the vaccination efforts in the country.

The holiday would act as a “galvanizing moment to promote the more rapid distribution of COVID-19 vaccines” and “increase public awareness of the important role vaccination can play for a return to normalcy as soon as possible,” according to the bill.

The legislation also aims to reassure Americans of the efficacy of the vaccines while celebrating thevaccination efforts so far.

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y.

“What this bill does really, is it recognizes the phenomenal success of Operation Warp Speed but more importantly than that, it’s a resolution to just kind of acknowledge that Americans have risen to the challenge,” Katko, who represents an area around Syracuse, told USA TODAY. “They’ve used their creativity, their innovation, their willingness to have local, county, state efforts to work together and there’s some momentum in that regard.”

As of Tuesday, at least 11.5% of the total population was fully vaccinated while 21.4% had been given at least one dose, according to the CDC. And more than 101 million doses had been administered.

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As the USA attempts to return to normal, Katko is concerned about Americans who aren’t prioritizing getting the vaccine and how it will affect the country’s move to normalcy.

“We’ve been doing a great job,” Katko said. “But I think I had a sense that, you know, some people are not prioritizing getting the vaccine and the sooner we get everyone the vaccine I think the better we can all get back to normal.”

“We want to open up this economy, we want to open up the country. We can do that when we reach a certain level of Americans being vaccinated,” Katko said.

The bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, signaling that this may receive bipartisan support in a deeply partisan House.

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