Biden to announce ‘all-of-America sprint’ to get more vaccinated by July Fourth

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden will declare Wednesday that June is a “national month of action” to mobilize an “all-of-America sprint” for more Americans to get vaccinated by July Fourth, to reach his goal of a return to a sense of pre-pandemic “freedom” by the iconic American summer holiday.

In an afternoon address on COVID-19, Biden “will outline an all-of-America approach to getting more people vaccinated, including by mobilizing national organizations, community-based and faith-based partners, businesses, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young people, and thousands of volunteers,” according to a White House official.

Independence Day is the deadline Biden set last month for the country to have at least 70% of adults having received at least one shot.

“I’d like to get it 100%, but I think realistically we can get to that place between now and July Fourth,” Biden said during White House remarks.

Biden is slated to announce steps to make it “even easier to get vaccinated, mobilize the country around vaccine outreach and education efforts, and incentivize vaccination.” Those efforts include a national tour by the president and vice president, free childcare, extended hours at pharmacies and more.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will launch a nationwide tour to reach those who still need vaccinations with Harris’ travel anchored in the South, according to a White House fact sheet.

Four of the nation’s largest child care providers — KinderCare, Learning Care Group, the YMCA and Bright Horizona — will offer free child care to all parents and caregivers getting vaccinated or recovering from a shot from now until July Fourth.

The Department of Health and Human Services is also issuing new guidance that encourages states to use child care funding leftover from the American Rescue Plan to provide financial incentives to local child care providers who adopt the same policy to help get more adults vaccinated.

Starting next week, pharmacies across the country, including Albertsons, CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens, will stay open late every Friday in June and offer vaccine services throughout the night.

The Biden administration is also organizing community canvassing, phone banking and text banking, and America’s mayors are joining this effort by launching a competition to see which city can grow its vaccination rate the most by July Fourth, among other incentives.

Nearly 63% of American adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 135 million Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The U.S. still needs to vaccinate roughly 20 million adults in the next month to reach Biden’s goal by July Fourth.

On track with Biden’s approach, Anheuser-Busch, the national brewer that produces Budweiser, announced Tuesday it will hold its “biggest beer giveaway ever.” If 70% of adults are partially vaccinated by Biden’s deadline, Anheuser-Busch says it “will buy America’s next round of beer, seltzer, non-alcoholic beverage or other A-B product.”

However, there is some fine print on the incentive. A person must create an account and upload a photo of “your favorite place to grab a beer.” Then, the first 200,000 submissions will get a $5 reward.

Still, the move builds on other public and private-sector partnerships the White House has formed with the goal of ramping up vaccinations and combatting vaccine hesitancy. Biden’s COVID-19 task force last month also announced a partnership with dating apps to encourage single Americans to flaunt their vaccination status.

Other examples of private sector initiatives recently launched include Major League Baseball teams offering on-site vaccinations at games and give free tickets to those who get vaccinated and United Airlines’ sweepstakes to win a year of free flights.

Despite the promise of plane tickets and gift cards, among other perks, Biden’s remarks also come as the pace of vaccinations slow in the U.S. In the last week, the country saw a 30% decrease in doses administered per day. Unvaccinated Americans are still leaving tens of millions of unused doses for COVID-19 sitting on the shelves with federal officials telling governors last week that some 53 million doses were still available to order.

So the surplus doesn’t go unused, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday the U.S. will announce its plan to distribute 80 million vaccines overseas in the next two weeks.

Some states have taken matters into their own hands and proven incentives can work. Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, New York and Kentucky have instituted their own versions of cash lotteries to incentivize people to get vaccinated.

As of last month, all American adults are eligible for vaccines, and three have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for use. Vaccination rates widely vary from state to state with Vermont and Maine having the highest rates and Mississippi and Alabama having the lowest, according to the CDC.

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