Day care centers will offer “drop-in care,” pharmacies will be open until the wee hours on Fridays, and Vice President Kamala Harris will launch a national tour as part of a “month of action” to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4, President Biden announced Wednesday.
Mr. Biden set a national goal to get at least one vaccine dose into 70% of U.S. adults before Independence Day festivities.
Roughly 63% of adults have received a shot, so Mr. Biden outlined a flurry of June efforts to spark interest as it gets harder to reach people who haven’t come forward.
“You can celebrate Independence Day free from fear or worry,” Mr. Biden said in a White House address. “Do it for yourself. Do it to protect those more vulnerable than you.”
The president said younger adults might be less likely to die from COVID-19 but should be immunized to avoid symptoms that can “be with you for months.” He also said vaccines will help the U.S. avoid a relapse when temperatures drop after a summer of fun.
“If you are unvaccinated, you are still at risk of getting seriously ill or dying or spreading disease to others, especially when Americans spend more time indoors again, closely gathered, in the fall,” Mr. Biden said.
The president said he enlisted Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons to promote the vaccines through June and offer on-site clinics, while software giant Microsoft is handing out Xboxes to Boys and Girls Clubs that promote vaccines in hard-hit communities.
KinderCare, the Learning Care Group and over 500 YMCA centers will offer free appointments to parents who need to drop off their kids before getting vaccinated.
Anheuser-Busch, meanwhile, pledged a free beer to Americans over 21 if the U.S. reaches Mr. Biden’s goal.
“That’s right, get a shot and have a beer,” Mr. Biden said.
CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens are among big pharmacy chains that will stay open late each Friday in June so people with inflexible work hours can get their shots, the White House said.
Ms. Harris will lead a nationwide “We Can Do This” tour to promote the shots.
The tour will focus on the South and Midwest and feature second gentleman Doug Emhoff and Cabinet members. Also, mayors across the country are competing to see which city can increase its vaccination rate the most by July 4.
The White House boasted Wednesday that cases are down over 90% and deaths are down over 85% since Mr. Biden took office on Jan. 20.
The daily average caseload, the president said, is “below 20,000 for the first time since March of 2020.”
And a dozen states have gotten at least one dose into at least 70% of adult state residents.
Still, millions of Americans remain unvaccinated nationwide.
The COVID-19 vaccines were developed and tested in less than a year under former President Trump. The first shots reached arms in December before the Biden administration took over the rollout in January.
“Getting the vaccine is not a partisan act,” Mr. Biden said. “The first vaccines were authorized under a Republican president and widely deployed by a Democrat president.”
He said people around the world are desperate for COVID-19 shots, but Americans can get them for free at the neighborhood drugstore.
“Please, exercise your freedom,” Mr. Biden said. “Live without fear.”