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Biden pushes vaccination campaign as July 4 deadline nears

▶ Watch Video: Biden announces monthlong effort to get COVID-19 vaccine into more Americans

Washington — President Biden on Wednesday urged Americans who haven’t yet gotten vaccinated to get the COVID-19 shot, announcing new incentives by the administration and private businesses across the country. It’s never been easier to get vaccinated, Mr. Biden said, as he aims for 70% of American adults to have at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by July 4. 

Right now, 52% of American adults are fully vaccinated, the president said, and he encouraged young people to get their shots. Those who get vaccinated this week can be fully vaccinated by the week of July 4, the president said. The president warned that fall could see an increase in cases and deaths in places where not enough people have gotten vaccinated, and insisted that the COVID-19 vaccine is not a partisan matter.

“Getting the vaccine is not a partisan act,” he said. “The science was done under Democratic and Republican administrations. Matter of fact, the first vaccines were authorized under a Republican president.”

Mr. Biden also warned young people that the virus could be with them for months, affect their social lives and have harmful effects on their long-term health. 

“Do it for yourself. Do it to protect those more vulnerable than you,” he said. 

The president is deeming June a “national month of action” to boost vaccinations by the upcoming holiday and outline an “all-of-America approach” to getting more shots in arms, including by tapping into national organizations, community- and faith-based partners, businesses, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young Americans and scores of volunteers. 

To make it easier for Americans to get inoculated against COVID-19, four of the country’s largest child care providers — KinderCare, Learning Care Group, YMCAs and Bright Horizons — will provide free child care to parents and caregivers getting their shots or recovering from side effects, the White House announced. Thousands of Albertsons, CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens pharmacies will also remain open late every Friday in June beginning next week. And Uber and Lyft are already offering free rides to and from vaccination sites. 

The Biden administration is also launching a “We Can Do This” nationwide tour, led by Vice President Kamala Harris, to reach unvaccinated Americans. Harris will travel to the South, while first lady Dr. Jill Biden, second gentleman Doug Emhoff and other Cabinet members will head to communities across the country. The White House is rolling out a “Shots at the Shop” initiative to engage Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons to support outreach efforts, as well as a COVID-19 College Challenge to boost vaccinations among young people.

During the campaign to boost vaccinations, the White House has launched partnerships with private-sector companies to make it easier for Americans to get their coronavirus shots. In addition to partnering with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to provide free rides to vaccination sites, brewer Anheuser-Busch announced Wednesday it is teaming up with the White House to help meet Mr. Biden’s July 4 vaccination goal.

As part of its “Let’s Grab a Beer” initiative, the company will give Americans of legal drinking age a free beer when the U.S. reaches the White House’s benchmark of 70% of adults partially vaccinated by July 4.

Other companies providing incentives for customers who get their shots include Doordash, a restaurant delivery service, which is giving $2 million in gift cards to the National Association of Community Health Centers; Major League Baseball teams, which have on-site vaccinations at games and award free tickets to fans who get vaccinated; and Microsoft, which is providing thousands of Xboxes to Boys and Girls Clubs in hard-hit communities that run promotions and seminars about the need to get inoculated.

States, too, have rolled out their own initiatives to incentivize residents to get their COVID shots. Ohio health officials reported a spike in people getting their vaccines after Governor Mike DeWine announced the state would award five vaccinated residents $1 million each to boost vaccination rates. West Virginia is giving $100 savings bonds to residents between the ages of 16 and 35 who get their shots, while the first 100,000 Minnesota residents who receive their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine before June 30 will be eligible for rewards.

Mr. Biden announced in early May his target of 70% of adults partially vaccinated and 160 million U.S. adults fully vaccinated by July 4. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 62.8% of the U.S. adult population have received at least one dose of their vaccines, while 51.7% of American adults are fully vaccinated. Seventy percent of adults in 12 states have already received at least one shot, and more than 28 states and the District of Columbia have fully vaccinated at least half of their adult populations.

Weijia Jiang contributed to this report.


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