President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a “National Month of Action” and outlined additional steps his administration is taking to get 70% of US adults at least one Covid-19 shot by July 4.
“It’s going to take everyone, everyone – the federal government, the state governments, local, tribal and territorial governments, private sector, and most importantly the American people – to get to this 70% mark so we can declare our independence from Covid-19 and free ourselves from the grip it has held over us, our lives, for the better part of a year,” Biden said, speaking from the White House.
The President warned Americans who are not vaccinated that they remain at risk of getting seriously ill, dying or spreading the disease to others. He made a special appeal to younger Americans and said Covid-19 could have long-term implications on their health.
“All over the world, people are desperate to get a shot that every American can get at their neighborhood drug store at no cost with no wait,” Biden said.
Biden said getting vaccinated is “not a partisan act,” and noted the science behind the vaccines was developed under both Democratic and Republican administrations.
The President touted his administration’s response to the pandemic and said that because of the success of the national vaccination campaign, the US was heading into this summer in a very different place from last summer, when lockdowns and stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of the virus had been put in place.
“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,” Biden said.
The month of action includes a partnership with Anheuser-Busch that could mean free alcohol for every American 21 years of age and older. Anheuser-Busch, the national brewer that produces Budweiser, announced Wednesday it will give away free alcohol if the nation reaches Biden’s goal to have 70% of US adults receive at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4.
The company said in a news release that if the US reaches that goal, “Anheuser-Busch will buy America’s next round of beer, seltzer, non-alcoholic beverage or other A-B product.” It instructs those 21 and up to upload a picture of themselves at their favorite bar or restaurant and enter to win.
“At Anheuser-Busch, we are committed to supporting the safe and strong recovery of our nation and being able to be together again at the places and with the people we have missed so much. This commitment includes encouraging Americans to get vaccinated, and we are excited to buy Americans 21+ a round of beer when we reach the White House goal,” said Michel Doukeris, CEO of Anheuser-Busch.
Biden announced new vaccination incentives, new outreach efforts to educate Americans about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and new steps to make it easier for Americans to get the shot.
The President set a new goal last month of administering at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose to 70% of the US adult population and having 160 million US adults fully vaccinated by July 4. As of Wednesday morning, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows 62.8% of the US adult population has received at least one dose and more than 133.5 million American adults are fully vaccinated.
Four of the nation’s largest childcare providers will offer free childcare from now until July 4 to Americans who are getting their Covid-19 vaccine or recovering from the shot, Biden said. KinderCare and Learning Care Group locations across the nation will offer free, drop-in care to support Americans getting vaccinated, and more than 500 YMCAs will offer drop-in care during vaccination appointments. Bright Horizons will also provide free childcare to support more than 10 million workers employed at participating organizations.
Starting next week, thousands of pharmacies, including Albertsons, CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens will stay open late every Friday in June in order to allow more Americans to get vaccinated.
Vice President Kamala Harris will lead a nationwide tour to reach millions of Americans who have not gotten their Covid-19 shot and encourage them to do so. The vice president’s travel will be anchored in the South, the White House said, and first lady Jill Biden, second gentleman Doug Emhoff and members of the Cabinet will also travel to communities across the country
Mayors across the country are launching the “Mayors Challenge,” which is a competition to see which city can increase its vaccination rate the most by July 4, the White House said, adding that more than 50 mayors of cities have signed up. The Biden administration says it has created a toolkit for the mayors and local leaders and will help recognize the winning cities later this year.
The Biden administration is teaming up with the Black Coalition Against COVID, the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity and SheaMoisture to launch “Shots at the Shop,” which is an initiative to engage Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons to conduct outreach and educate Americans about the vaccines.
The administration is also increasing vaccine outreach on college campuses and encouraging colleges and universities to take a pledge to get their students and communities vaccinated.
Vaccine education segments will also air on local TV and radio stations and the administration will continue to conduct outreach on social media platforms and engaging celebrities and influencers.
Thousands of employers and businesses have also offered incentives for Americans to get vaccinated this month.
Nearly 51% of the total US population has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and nearly 41% of the total population is fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, Biden delivered a message of hope and optimism on the declining number of Covid-19 and increased vaccination rates. Last week, the White House touted the US reaching the milestone of having more than 50% of American adults fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
CDC data shows 12 states have met the Biden administration’s goal to have 70% of adults with at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. California and Maryland recently joined Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont in reaching that benchmark.
Three Covid-19 vaccines have emergency use authorization by the FDA – the two-shot Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines and the one shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
This story has been updated with additional developments on Wednesday.