June 3, 2021 -- President Joe Biden has announced a month-long campaign to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19, with inducements ranging from free beer to free childcare.
"It's going to take everyone, everyone -- the federal government, the state governments, local, tribal and territorial governments, private sector, and most importantly the American people -- to get to this 70% mark so we can declare our independence from Covid-19 and free ourselves from the grip it has held over us, our lives, for the better part of a year," Biden said in a White House briefing, according to CNN.
Biden set the 70% vaccination goal in early May. The CDC says 62.9% of Americans over 18 have gotten at least one dose of vaccine, with 51.9% fully vaccinated. But health officials say the vaccination rate is slowing because most people who want to be vaccinated have already done so.
Businesses will be encouraged to offer more incentives to employees and customers to get vaccinated. The White House created a new webpage to list businesses already doing so.
Anheuser-Busch announced Wednesday that it will give away a free beer or non-alcoholic beverage to everybody over 21 on July 4 if the 70% goal is reached. In a news release, the company instructed people to upload a picture of themselves at their favorite bar or restaurant and enter to win.
Other incentives include CVS launching a sweepstakes for vaccinated people to win cruises, Super Bowl tickets or cash prizes; Door Dash giving out $2 million in gift cards to incentivize vaccinations; and MLB teams offering on-site vaccinations at games and giving free tickets to those who get vaccinated.
In announcing the “National Month of Action,” Biden said he wants to make it easier for people to get vaccinated. Major childcare providers KinderCare, the Learning Care Group, Bright Horizons, and the YMCA will offer free drop-in care for the children of people getting vaccinated, the White House said in a news release.
Pharmacy chains Albertsons, CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens will extend their hours for vaccinations and make it easier to set appointments. On Friday, those pharmacies will stay open all day, Biden said.
"If you're too busy at work or school, you can get vaccinated around the clock on any Friday," Biden said.
Vice President Kamala Harris will launch a tour to promote vaccinations. The tour will be anchored in the South and she will be joined by the Second Gentleman and cabinet members.
To reach more minority groups that have been slow to get vaccinated, the administration is working with the Black Coalition Against Covid to create a “Shots at the Shop” campaign that will engage Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons to host on-site vaccination events. A new “Covid-19 College Challenge” has been started to get more students vaccinated.