Free Beer, Other New Incentives For Biden’s ‘Vaccine Sprint’ | Economic news
By ZEKE MILLER, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – Swinging everything from sports tickets to free beer, President Joe Biden is looking for that extra something – anything – that will make people roll up their sleeves for COVID-19 injections when the promise of a life-saving vaccine in itself was not enough.
Biden on Wednesday announced a “month of action” to urge more Americans to get vaccinated before the July 4 vacation, including an incentive sprint in early summer and a series of new measures to ease the barriers and make vaccines more attractive to those who don’t have I received them. He is moving closer to his goal of having at least partially 70% of adults immunized by Independence Day – critical to his goal of bringing the nation back to something approaching a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy this summer.
“The more we are vaccinated, the more successful we will be in fighting 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 meeting and celebrating. An all-American summer.”
The Biden administration considers June “a critical month on our road to normalcy,” Courtney Rowe, director of strategic communications and engagement for the House’s COVID-19 response team, told the AP White.
Biden’s plan will continue to use public and private partnerships, mirroring the “whole-of-government” effort he has made to make vaccines more widely available after he takes office. The president said he was “doing everything possible” to increase the vaccination rate.
Among those efforts is a promotional giveaway announced by Anheuser-Busch on Wednesday, claiming it will “buy Americans 21+ a round of beer” once Biden’s 70% target is met.
“Take a shot and have a beer,” Biden said, advertising the promotion even though he himself abstains from drinking alcohol.
Additionally, the White House is partnering with early years centers such as KinderCare, Learning Care Group, Bright Horizons, and more than 500 YMCAs to provide free child care coverage to Americans seeking vaccines or having need help recovering from side effects.
The administration is also launching a new partnership to bring education about vaccines and even doses to more than a thousand black-owned hair and beauty salons, building on a successful pilot program in Maryland.
These are the latest vaccine sweeteners, leveraging other incentives such as cash giveaways, sports tickets, and paid time off, to keep pace with vaccinations.
“The fact remains that despite all the progress, those who are not vaccinated remain at risk of becoming seriously ill or dying or of passing the disease on to others,” Rowe said.
In an effort to make injections even more convenient, Biden announces that many pharmacies are extending their opening hours this month – and thousands will remain open overnight on Fridays. The White House is also stepping up efforts to help employers organize 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 vaccines. It will include First Lady Jill Biden, Second Mr. Doug Emhoff and Cabinet officials. Harris’ trips will focus 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, 62.9% of the U.S. adult population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 133.9 million are fully immunized. The rate of new vaccinations slowed to an average of less than 555,000 per day, from more than 800,000 when incentives such as lotteries were announced, and from a peak of nearly 2 million per day in early April when demand for vaccines was much higher.
The efforts by the United States to convince Americans to shoot contrast with much of the world, where vaccines are much less abundant. Faced with a growing U.S. surplus, the Biden administration plans to start sharing 80 million doses with the world this month.
“People all over the world are desperate for an injection that every American can get at their neighborhood pharmacy,” Biden said.
“Incentives can work, and I think the White House’s focus on immunization is an easy and convenient choice,” said Dr. Leana Wen, emergency physician, professor of public health at George Washington University and former Baltimore health commissioner.
“It is the height of American exceptionalism that we must implore people to get a life-saving vaccine, while healthcare workers and vulnerable people around the world die because they do not have access to it.” , she added.
Thanks to vaccinations, the case and death rate in the United States is at its lowest since the start of the pandemic last March, with an average of less than 16,000 new cases and less than 400 deaths per day.
As part of efforts to get Americans shot at, the White House is borrowing some tools from political campaigns, including phone banking, door-to-door, and texting. The administration says more than 1,000 such events will take place this weekend alone. In addition, it organizes competitions between cities and colleges to increase vaccination rates.
Other new incentives include a $ 2 million pledge from DoorDash to provide gift cards to community health centers to use to entice people to get vaccinated. CVS has launched a raffle with prizes that include free cruises and Super Bowl tickets. Major League Baseball will be hosting on-site vaccination clinics and game ticket giveaways. And Kroger will donate $ 1 million to a person vaccinated every week this month, and dozens of people will be shopping for free for the year.
The fine print of the Anheuser-Busch promotion reveals the benefits to the sponsoring company, which will collect consumer data and photos through its website to sign up for the $ 5 giveaway. The company says it will distribute credits to the number of eligible people.
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