President Joe Biden outlined a series of steps – from free child care to on-the-job clinics to “fun rewards” – to entice reluctant and resistant Americans to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
The purpose is to reach a goal of getting at least 70% of American adults with at least one shot by July 4. The figure is now 63%, with 12 states having reached the 70% threshold.
But Biden highlighted an irony of the success in getting the vaccine distributed throughout the country, as a significant chunk of the population still refuses to take it.
“All over the world people are desperate to get a shot that every American can get at their neighborhood drugstore,” Biden said.
The president tried to counter vaccine skepticism, particularly on the Right, by noting that “getting the vaccine is not a partisan act. The science was done under Democratic and Republican administrations, and in fact, the first vaccines were authorized by a Republican president and widely developed by a Democratic president.”
The White House announced a series of steps that they are calling a “National Month of Action,” one that will include engaging community leaders, local organizations, employers and even celebrities and athletes to urge Americans to get vaccinated.
Among other things, the administration has enlisted four of the largest child care providers to offer free child care while parents are getting vaccinated, while thousands of pharmacies including Albertsons, CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens will offer extended late hours on Fridays in June to offer vaccinations. The administration also said that it was working with employers to set up more on-the-job vaccination clinics, while highlighting some of the incentives that businesses are offering.
The enticements range from free beer by Anheuser-Busch to Door Dash gift cards, with Major League Baseball offering free tickets and NASCAR holding a sweepstakes for the Daytona 500. A number of states, including California, are holding sweepstakes-like events to offer financial rewards for those who have been vaccinated, a far cry from just a few months ago when it could be a bit like the lottery just to secure an appointment to get the shot.
The White House also announced that the National Association of Broadcasters, representing 7,000 TV and radio stations, is enlisting members to participate in vaccine education segments in programming that will feature community leaders and medical professionals.
NAB is targeting June 4 as the date for stations to kick off the month of action, with stations hosting medical professionals to answer listener and viewer questions, as well as other efforts including mobile vaccine events or inoculating a station or community personality on air. The plans also include using online platforms to share vaccine information.
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