Biden Administration Makes Push to Get More Americans Vaccinated
The administration of President Joe Biden announced a major new initiative designed to get more Americans vaccinated ahead of the 4th of July holiday. At the beginning of May, the White House announced an aggressive goal of having 70% of adult Americans with at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot prior to Independence Day. On Wednesday, Biden announced a plan to make this happen.
Dubbed the "National Month of Action," this plan employs various initiatives to increase the accessibility of the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are a few of the major tenets of the plan.
Leaning on Pharmacies
The nation's pharmacies have played a pivotal role in getting as many shots as possible into arms. This work will continue throughout the month of June. As part of the bold initiative, Biden said that thousands of pharmacies in locations such as Albertsons, CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens will stay open late on Fridays beginning next week. These extended hours are designed to provide more access to Americans who may have not yet received the shot because it conflicted with their work schedules.
One of the biggest roadblocks for some Americans wanting to get the vaccine is a lack of quality childcare. Not only do parents worry about who will care for their children when they get the shot, but they also are concerned about how they will take care of their kids if they suffer any of the many reported side effects.
To address this concern, Biden announced that the White House was partnering with four major childcare providers to offer free services to parents in need. KinderCare and Learning Care Group locations are now offering free drop-in childcare to help this effort. In addition, over 500 YMCA locations will provide complimentary care for adults needing to drop off their kids to get a vaccine. Bright Horizons is also on board to provide support to participating organizations by providing free care. These initiatives are effective immediately and will run until July 4.
Cheers to That
Nothing is quite as motivating as a free cold beer. The White House is partnering with Anheuser-Busch to provide free alcohol to every eligible American over the age of 21 if the country reaches Biden's 70% goal by July 4. Anheuser-Busch said that it will buy each American adult a beer or seltzer if the US comes through on meeting the milestone set forth by Biden.
Recognizing that vaccination efforts begin and end at the local level, the plan also includes what Biden calls the "Mayors Challenge." This friendly competition will pit cities against each other to see who can get the most residents vaccinated. The White House confirmed that over 50 mayors have already pledged to take part in the competition. The Biden team has provided a toolkit to city leaders to help them to roll out the plan and to support the vaccination efforts. The winning cities will be recognized in a special ceremony later in the year.
Harris to Hit the Road
Vice President Kamala Harris is set to play a pivotal role in the program. She has been tapped by Biden to lead a tour across the country to encourage those Americans who have been hesitant to get the shot to take that next step. While Harris will primarily spend her time touring the South, other members of the Biden team will spread out across other regions of the US. Both first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will also be a part of this road tour.
Where Are We Now?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just over 50% of the total population in the US has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, 41% of the total population is fully vaccinated. As of the beginning of June, only 12 states have met Biden's goal of having 70% of adults with at least one dose of the vaccine. Those 12 states are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
While it will be quite the challenge to reach this goal in some areas of the country, the Biden team is confident that these actions will provide the impetus needed to get over the finish line.
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