July 4, 2022

WATCH: Biden announces free beer, other new incentives for ‘vaccine sprint’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dangling everything from sports tickets to a free beer, President Joe Biden is looking for that extra something — anything — that will get people to roll up their sleeves for COVID-19 shots when the promise of a life-saving vaccine by itself hasn’t been enough.

Watch Biden’s remarks in the video player above.

Biden on Wednesday announced a “month of action” to urge more Americans to get vaccinated before the July 4 holiday, including an early summer sprint of incentives and a slew of new steps to ease barriers and make getting shots more appealing to those who haven’t received them. He is closing in on his goal of getting 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated by Independence Day — essential to his aim of returning the nation to something approaching a pre-pandemic sense of normalcy this summer.

“The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we’re going to have in the fight against this virus,” Biden said from the White House. He predicted that with more vaccinations, America will soon experience “a summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get togethers and celebrations. An All-American summer.”

The Biden administration views June as “a critical month in our path to normal,” Courtney Rowe, the director of strategic communications and engagement for the White House COVID-19 response team, told the AP.

Biden’s plan will continue to use public and private-sector partnerships, mirroring the “whole of government” effort he deployed to make vaccines more widely available after he took office. The president said he was “pulling out all the stops” to drive up the vaccination rate.

Among those efforts is a promotional giveaway announced Wednesday by Anheuser-Busch, saying it will “buy Americans 21+ a round of beer” once Biden’s 70% goal is met.

“Get a shot and have a beer,” Biden said, advertising the promotion even though he himself refrains from drinking alcohol.

Additionally, the White House is partnering with early childhood centers such as KinderCare, Learning Care Group, Bright Horizons and more than 500 YMCAs to provide free childcare coverage for Americans looking for shots or needing assistance while recovering from side effects.

The administration is also launching a new partnership to bring vaccine education and even doses to more than a thousand Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons, building on a successful pilot program in Maryland.

They’re the latest vaccine sweeteners, building on other incentives like cash giveaways, sports tickets and paid leave, to keep up the pace of vaccinations.

“The fact remains that despite all the progress, those who are unvaccinated still remain at risk of getting seriously ill or dying or spreading the disease to others,” said Rowe.

Aiming to make injections even more convenient, Biden is announcing that many pharmacies are extending their hours this month — and thousands will remain open overnight on Fridays. The White House is also stepping up its efforts to help employers run on-site vaccination clinics.

Biden will also announce that he is assigning Vice President Kamala Harris to lead a “We Can Do This” vaccination tour to encourage shots. It will include first lady Jill Biden, second gentleman Doug Emhoff and Cabinet officials. Harris’ travel will be focused on the South, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the country, while other officials will travel to areas of the Midwest with below average rates.

To date 62.8% of the adult U.S. population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 133.6 million are fully vaccinated. The rate of new vaccinations has slowed to an average below 600,000 per day, down from more than 800,000 when incentives like lotteries were announced, and down from a peak of nearly 2 million per day in early April when demand for shots was much higher.

MORE: Biden makes history with Tulsa visit, pledges to tackle racial wealth gap

The lengths to which the U.S. is resorting to convince Americans to take a shot stands in contrast to much of the world, where vaccines are far less plentiful. Facing a mounting U.S. surplus, the Biden administration is planning to begin sharing 80 million doses with the world this month.

“All over the world people are desperate to get a shot that every American can get at their neighborhood drugstore,” Biden said.

Thanks to the vaccinations, the rate of cases and deaths in the U.S. are at their lowest since the beginning of the pandemic last March, averaging under 16,000 new cases and under 400 deaths per day.

As part of the effort to drive Americans to get shots, the White House is borrowing some tools from political campaigns, including phone banks, door-knocking and texting. The administration says more than 1,000 such events will be held this weekend alone. Additionally, it is organizing competitions between cities and colleges to drive up vaccination rates.

Other new incentives include a $2 million commitment from DoorDash to provide gift cards to community health centers to be used to drive people to get vaccinated. CVS launched a sweepstakes with prizes including free cruises and Super Bowl tickets. Major League Baseball will host on-site vaccine clinics and ticket giveaways at games. And Kroger will give $1 million to a vaccinated person each week this month and dozens of people free groceries for the year.

The fine print on the Anheuser-Busch promotion reveals the benefits to the sponsoring company, which will collect consumer data and photos through its website to register for the $5 giveaway. The company says it will hand out credits to however many people qualify.

in Health
Related Posts

Vaccinated lawmakers get to take off their masks in House

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fully vaccinated members of Congress and staffers will no longer have to wear masks on the House...

As COVID-19 crisis ebbs, some lawmakers seeking 9/11-style commission

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

With more than 600,000 Americans dead of COVID-19 and questions still raging about the origin of the virus and the...

Businesses shut as Malaysia enters second virus lockdown

June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malls and many businesses in Malaysia shuttered Tuesday as the country began its second nationwide...

COVID wards are filled with unvaccinated patients, many homebound seniors

June 18, 2021

June 18, 2021

Dr. Leora Horwitz treats fewer and fewer COVID patients at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Still, she...

Little-known illness turning up in COVID long-haulers

June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

The day Dr. Elizabeth Dawson was diagnosed with COVID-19 in October, she awoke feeling as if she had a bad...

School districts intensify summer programs to combat learning lost during the pandemic

June 30, 2021

June 30, 2021

Stephanie Sy: A rising eighth grader at Sandy Springs Middle School, Harmonee Jackson is having to attend summer school for...

Busy shops, fewer workers: Portland grapples with post-pandemic reality

November 13, 2021

November 13, 2021

Last year, Portland, Maine, was struggling to prepare for an economic winter of uncertainty. A push of late fall warmth...

In mental health crises, a 911 call now brings a mixed team of helpers — and maybe no cops

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

By the time Kiki Radermacher, a mental health therapist, arrived at a Missoula, Montana, home on an emergency 911 call...

Supreme Court dismisses challenge to Obama health law

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to the Obama era health care law, preserving insurance coverage...

NFL pledges to halt ‘race-norming,’ review concussion claims of Black players

June 2, 2021

June 2, 2021

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The NFL on Wednesday pledged to halt the use of “race-norming” — which assumed Black players started...

U.S. to distribute vaccines based on requests as Biden administration looks to beef up international response

May 25, 2021

May 25, 2021

The Biden administration announced Tuesday the federal government will only distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses based on states’ requests going forward,...

As more Americans get vaccinated, 41% of Republicans still refuse COVID-19 shots

May 17, 2021

May 17, 2021

As fewer people die from the coronavirus, the pace of vaccinations is stalling, and four out of 10 Republicans say...

Enrollment in health insurance lags among Latino children

June 28, 2021

June 28, 2021

Not long ago, Graciela Camarena, a community health worker in the Rio Grande Valley, had a perplexing case. Over a...

Why police, firefighters are fighting vaccine mandates and what that means for their jobs

October 29, 2021

October 29, 2021

John Yang: Most New York City municipal workers are getting vaccinated, with the pace picking up as today’s deadline neared....

States sue over new Biden vaccine rule for businesses, claim federal overreach

November 8, 2021

November 8, 2021

John Yang: Judy, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana agreed on Saturday to block...