WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is using free child care and the lure of a complimentary beer to try to persuade more Americans to get vaccinated against Covid-19, part of a push to reach his goal of 70 percent of adults having their first shot by July 4.
Biden said Wednesday the federal government is ramping up efforts to make vaccines more convenient and promoted incentives that companies are offering, like Anheuser-Busch announcing Wednesday that it will give Americans a credit for a free beer if the U.S. reaches the July 4 goal.
“Americans headed into the summer dramatically different from last year's summer,” Biden said. “A summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get-togethers and celebrations, an all-American summer that this country deserves after a long, long dark winter that we've all endured.”
To get 70 percent of adults their first dose by then, an additional 16 million people will need to get the shot in the next month, something the U.S. appears to be on track to do if the current trends hold, based on an NBC News analysis. But demand for the vaccine has been steadily declining with vaccination rates particularly low among adults under 40.
“This virus, even a mild case can be with you for months,” Biden said in his pitch to young people. “It will impact your social life. It could have long-term implications for your health that we don't even know about yet or fully understand yet. It's true, young people are much less likely to die from Covid, but if you do not get vaccinated, you can get Covid sooner or later.”
The White House said Vice President Kamala Harris is planning to travel across the South and Midwest where millions remain unvaccinated. She will be joined by first lady Jill Biden and other top administration officials.
Biden said efforts are underway to make getting a vaccine easier, including keeping some sites open 24 hours on Fridays and arranging for day care centers to offer free child care while parents get vaccinated.
The White House also promoted incentives companies are offering and called for more companies to follow suit.
The administration said it supports a plan by Anheuser-Busch to give adults 21 and over a free beer, seltzer or nonalcoholic beverage if the country reaches 70 percent goal by July 4. To get the $5 virtual credit for a beverage, people will have to upload a photo of themselves to the company’s websites of their “favorite place to grab a beer” along with basic personal information.
The White House said it has been encouraging other corporate programs, including CVS giving away cruises, tickets to the Super Bowl and cash prizes to people who are vaccinated, and Major League Baseball teams offering on-site vaccinations at games and free tickets to those who get vaccinated.