Each year, National Public Health Week gives us all an opportunity to come together to restore and strengthen our nation’s public health. As we have seen so clearly over the past 2 years, public health is essential to every aspect of our national life – not only to the safety and well-being of our families and communities, but also to our prosperity. This week, we celebrate the progress we have made to revitalize our public health, recommit ourselves to the work that remains, and recognize all the remarkable health care workers and public health professionals whose sacrifice and courage extraordinary people on the front line have carried our Nation through one of the most difficult times in our history.
Thanks to our brave and dedicated public health and healthcare personnel, the resilience of the American people, and our comprehensive strategy to fight COVID-19, our nation is far better positioned today than it was. was a year ago. Vaccines and booster shots have been proven to provide the highest level of protection – and today more than 250 million Americans have stepped up to protect themselves and their communities by at least getting vaccinated, saving more a million American lives. We are ready with millions of antiviral treatments that reduce your chances of ending up in hospital by 90%. We continue to vaccinate the world, having sent over half a billion doses of vaccine to 114 countries with more to come.
My administration has made hundreds of millions of tests available for Americans to order directly from home for free. We’ve successfully reopened schools and businesses across the country, most Americans can now safely go mask-free, and together we’re moving safely back to more normal routines. We’re well positioned to detect and prepare for new variants and have more tools than ever to protect people — but ensuring those tools are readily available requires additional funding from Congress. We urgently need Congress to provide the funding we have requested to maintain our COVID-19 preparedness and ensure that the American people continue to have access to treatments, vaccines, and tests. The consequences of inaction are serious and immediate, and they will only get worse over time.
While COVID-19 remains a top public health priority, we are committed to a full range of efforts to improve the overall health, safety and resilience of the Nation. Last year, through the US bailout and other actions, we expanded access to quality health care and lowered its cost for millions of Americans. In addition, we have made new investments in mental health services; innovative healthcare technologies; our public health and health care staff; and programs for mothers, infants and early childhood. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, we are also helping to address long-standing health inequities that have plagued communities of color and low-income neighborhoods for far too long. With this law, we are beginning to replace toxic lead pipes so that every child, in every home and every school in America, finally has clean water to drink. By making major investments in public transit and bringing high-speed Internet access to every community across the country, we are also making health care and telehealth services more accessible to every family.
Of course, we need to do much more to improve our public health and build a better America. As we continue our fight to defeat the pandemic, we must also continue to expand health coverage and reduce the cost of health care for every family, including the cost of prescription drugs like insulin. We must make transformational investments in our climate resilience and continue to address the dangerous environmental injustices that threaten public health and have hit communities of color the hardest. We must take common sense steps to address the public health epidemic of gun violence, which disproportionately affects Black Americans. We must come together to address the toll the mental health epidemic is taking on America’s children, provide the physical and mental health care our veterans and service members deserve, and make decisive investments to spark breakthroughs in our fights cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and other diseases.
During National Public Health Week, we recommit ourselves to these goals – to improve our public health and, in doing so, to improve our safety and security, our economic strength, and the fairness and justice of our nation. and our quality of life. Together, we share our appreciation to all who protect the Nation’s public health through acts of service and to those who seek to strengthen communities by fostering equitable opportunities for all. My administration encourages all Americans to do their part for public health, including getting vaccinated and receiving a booster shot, if eligible. It takes all of us to keep our nation healthy, and together we stand ready to make tremendous strides to build a better, stronger, and healthier America.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim the period from April 4 to April 10, 2022, as National Public Health Week. I call on all citizens, government agencies, private businesses, non-profit organizations and other groups to take action to improve the health of our nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have affixed my signature this April first of the year of grace two thousand and twenty-two and of the independence of the United States of America on the two hundred and forty-six.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.