The White House is ramping up efforts to ensure that U.S. adults get vaccinated against Covid-19, announcing extended pharmacy hours for shots and free child care for recipients, expanded community outreach efforts and even free beer.
The push is part of a broader effort by the administration to encourage and make it easier for unvaccinated Americans to get Covid-19 shots — and meet President Joe Biden’s goal of giving at least one shot to 70 percent of U.S. adults by July 4.
“If you’re too busy at work or school, you can get vaccinated around the clock,” President Joe Biden said in a speech Wednesday touting the new measures to increase access to vaccines.
Just under 63 percent of American adults have gotten at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. More than 12 states have already surpassed the 70 percent mark, including Vermont, where nearly 75 percent of the state’s residents 12 and older have already received at least one dose. But vaccinations are lagging in southern states such as Mississippi, Missouri and Arkansas.
To remove barriers to vaccination, some retail pharmacies will offer extended hours this month for coronavirus shots, the White House said. Some retail pharmacies plan to use their 24-hour stores on a limited basis to offer overnight and early morning vaccinations, two sources familiar with the announcement told POLITICO.
The White House also announced Vice President Kamala Harris will be traveling across the country — particularly in the South — to bolster vaccination efforts. Other officials including first lady Jill Biden, second gentleman Douglas Emhoff and members of the president’s cabinet will also be on the road as part of the effort.
KinderCare, Learning Care Group, and some YMCA locations will also offer free child care to caregivers getting or recovering from vaccination, according to the White House. Bright Horizons will be also provide child care to about 10 million employees at “participating organizations.”
The Biden administration also is partnering with universities and Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons to support vaccine education and support on-site vaccination clinics.
The administration also said that several companies were offering special deals for vaccinated people — including Anheuser-Busch’s offer of free beer on Independence Day for people over 21, free Major League Baseball tickets and Microsoft’s pledge to donate XBox gaming systems to Boys and Girls Clubs as part of outreach programs.
“We need everyone across the country to pull together to put us over the finish line,” Biden said. “Please, do your part. Give it your all through July 4th. Let’s go into the summer freer and safer.”
Alice Miranda Ollstein contributed to this report.