Dangling everything from sports tickets, cash giveaways to a free beer, President Joe Biden is looking for that extra something that will get people to roll up their sleeves for COVID-19 shots.
“Drink a beer, sit back for a haircut and get your Covid-19 vaccination” was President Joe Biden’s message Wednesday in launching a huge final push to inoculate 70 percent of the US adult population by the national holiday of July 4th.
“That’s right: get a shot, have a beer,” President Joe Biden said in a speech announcing the campaign to meet his Independence Day target.
The White House has recruited everything from big brewers like Anheuser-Busch to small Black-owned barber shops to spearhead the effort.
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.
These are the latest vaccine sweeteners, building on other incentives like cash giveaways, sports tickets and paid leave, to keep up the pace of vaccinations.
“We’re asking the American people for help,” Biden said. “It’s going to take everyone…, so we can declare independence from Covid-19 and free ourselves from the grip it has held over our life for the better part of a year.”
Biden 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.”
Currently, 63 percent of adults have received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine. Twelve states have crossed 70 percent and more are expected to get there this week, Biden said.
Just over half of adults have been fully vaccinated, leading to a plunge in the toll from the virus, which has killed nearly 600,000 Americans.
Biden said daily cases are below 20,000 for first time since March 2020 and death rates are down more than 85 percent.
Even after an initial rush to get shots, the Biden administration is having to come up with ever more unusual ideas to lure the reluctant no-shows.
Universities are joining the crusade while some states are offering lotteries with prizes as big as $1 million. In West Virginia, firearms and pick-up trucks are on the prize list.
“We’re making it even easier to get vaccinated, which we’ve seen is the key to increasing numbers and getting more shots in arms,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
With the Black community behind in the vaccination rates, the White House has put special emphasis on barbershops and salons, which often double as African American social hubs. They will “offer information to customers, booking appointments or even using their own businesses as vaccination sites,” Biden said.