WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Free beer is the latest White House-backed incentive for Americans to get vaccinated for COVID-19, as President Joe Biden announced a “month of action” Wednesday to get more shots into arms before the July 4 holiday.
Biden promoted an early summer sprint of incentives and a slew of new steps to ease barriers and make getting shots more appealing to those who haven’t received them — essential to his plans to get 70% of adults partially vaccinated by Independence Day and return the nation to a sense of normalcy this summer.
“The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we’re going to have in the fight against 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 get-togethers and celebrations. An All-American summer.”
The White House said Biden’s “month of action” will continue to use public and private-sector partnerships to encourage Americans to roll up their sleeves, drawing in businesses, colleges, celebrities and community organizations to help spread the word about the benefits of vaccination and to encourage them to get shots.
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.
Anheuser-Busch announced Wednesday morning that it would “buy Americans 21+ a round of beer” once Biden’s 70% goal is met through a promotional giveaway on its website that will provide $5 credits to the first 200,000 people to respond when the nation reaches the vaccine threshold.
Other new incentives include a $2 million commitment from DoorDash to provide gift cards to community health centers to be used to drive people to get vaccinated. CVS launched a sweepstakes with prizes including free cruises and Super Bowl tickets. Major League Baseball will host on-site vaccine clinics and ticket giveaways at games. And Kroger will give $1 million to a vaccinated person each week this month and dozens of people free groceries for the year.
Aiming to make injections even more convenient, Biden announced that many pharmacies are extending their hours this month — and thousands will remain open overnight on Fridays.
“All over the world people are desperate to get a shot that every American can get at their neighborhood drugstore,” Biden said.
To date 62.8% of the adult U.S. population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 133.6 million are fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The rate of new vaccinations has slowed again to an average below 600,000 per day, down from more than 800,000 per day when incentives like lotteries were announced, and down from a peak of nearly 2 million per day in early April when demand for shots was much higher.
So far about 12 states have met Biden’s goal to vaccinate 70% of adults by July 4 according to the CDC. The states are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.