President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a host of new incentives for Americans to get their Covid-19 vaccine, including the chance to win free tickets to sporting events and free beer to adults 21 and over, in hopes of having 70% of American adults partially vaccinated by July 4.
Details on the new incentives
Biden declared June to be a "National Month of Action" and announced a campaign in collaboration with businesses nationwide to get more Americans vaccinated. Among the incentives included are the chance to win free Super Bowl tickets, a sweepstakes offering a year of free flights from United Airlines, and a giveaway of free beer from Anheuser-Busch on Independence Day if America reaches Biden's goal.
"That's right, get a shot and have a beer," Biden said. "Free beer for everyone 21 years and over to celebrate the independence from the virus."
According to Anheuser-Busch, applicants for the giveaway have to "simply upload a picture of themselves in their favorite place to grab a beer" to mycoooler.com/beer, and they will be entered to get a $5 card that can be used to purchase a free drink. The giveaway will be limited to 200,000 people.
In addition, the National Association of Broadcasters will support a radio and television advertising push to get people vaccinated, major pharmacy retailers will extend their hours every Friday night in June, and a "Covid-19 College Challenge" campaign will encourage college students to get vaccinated.
Biden also announced that four child care providers will provide free child care to people while they get their vaccine. KinderCare and Learning Care Group, which together operate over 2,500 sites nationwide, will provide free, drop-in appointments to care for the children of anyone needing to get vaccinated or recover from their vaccination.
Meanwhile, the YMCA will offer drop-in care for vaccination appointments, White House officials said, and Bright Horizons will provide free child care during vaccination appointments to the employees of the more than 1,100 employers it partners with.
Biden's plan also includes a "Shots at the Shop" campaign, which aims to reach out to Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons to provide educational materials and on-site vaccinations to their patrons.
The campaign will be modeled after the Health Advocates In-Reach and Research (HAIR) program, according to HAIR's founder Stephen Thomas. HAIR has aimed to combat health disparities in Black communities by using barbershops and beauty salons as health and wellness hubs, USA Today reports.
The Biden administration's outreach campaign will also include phone banking and text messaging to people in areas with low vaccination rates. Biden announced that, starting this weekend, thousands of people in neighborhoods nearby walk-in clinics will start knocking on doors and canvassing.
Biden also encouraged states to use funds from the American Rescue Plan to give financial incentives to smaller child care providers to stay open later or otherwise help in getting more people vaccinated.
"I don't want to see the country that has already become too divided become divided in a new way—between places where people live free from Covid and places where, when the fall arrives, death and severe illness have returned," Biden said. "Everywhere around the world, people are desperate to get a shot that Americans can get at their neighborhood drugstore."
Covid-19 cases drop to lowest since the start of the pandemic
Biden's announcement comes as the United States saw Covid-19 case rates drop to their lowest since March 2020, Axios reports. Over the past week, the United States averaged about 16,500 cases a day, a 30% drop compared with the week before. Case rates dropped in 43 states and remained steady in the other seven.
As case rates continue to drop, vaccination rates continue to rise. According to CDC, 50.8% of the American population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 41% have received all required vaccine doses. Among U.S. adults, 62.9% have been partially vaccinated, while 51.9% have received all required vaccine doses.
Meanwhile, in 12 states more than 70% of adults are at least partially vaccinated, according to CDC.
However, in a handful of states, mostly in the South, vaccination rates are still relatively low. For example, in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wyoming, less than 50% of adults have been partially vaccinated, according to CDC.
And vaccination rates have started to slow in recent days. According to a New York Times analysis, if vaccinations continue at their current pace, the United States will fall just short of reaching President Biden's July 4 goal, as 68% of Americans will be partially vaccinated by then.
Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported that as of May 21, 351 federally supported vaccination sites have closed. And according to CDC data, providers are administering about 1.1 million vaccine doses a day, as of Wednesday, which marks a roughly 67% decrease from the peak 3.38 million daily rate on April 13.
"We knew it was going to get harder," Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said. But if Americans "do everything that we have laid out today," the country could "absolutely" still hit Biden's July 4 goal, "but nothing is guaranteed" (Stolberg, New York Times, 6/2; Reed, "Vitals," Axios, 6/3; Kopp, Roll Call, 6/2; Allassan, Axios, 6/2; Hassanein, USA Today, 6/2; Baker/Witherspoon, Axios, 6/3; Pereira/Mitropoulos, ABC News, 6/2).