Beers, Babysitting and Baseball: Biden Increases Incentives to Get People Vaccinated by July 4
With his deadline growing nearer, President Joe Biden is increasing incentives to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and meet his nationwide goal of having 70% of Americans vaccinated by July 4.
Biden urged people to go out and get vaccinated in a briefing on Wednesday, "so we can declare our independence from COVID-19, and free ourselves from the grip it has held over our lives for the better part of a year."
Calling June a "national month of action," Biden revealed new perks for those who get vaccinated, from baseball tickets, to groceries for a year, to airline flights.
"We're announcing a nationwide effort to pull out all the stops to free ourselves from this virus and get to 70% of adult Americans vaccinated," he said. "It's going to take everyone."
The incentives range from free childcare for busy parents who haven't had time to get vaccinated to free Uber or Lyft rides to vaccination sites, which will now operate for 24 hours on Fridays.
Several private companies have also created their own perks, like Xboxes from Microsoft, sweepstakes for free cruises and Super Bowl tickets from CVS. Anheuser-Busch has also said that it will give out free beer if the U.S. reaches the 70% mark by July 4.
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Many states are also automatically entering residents who get vaccinated into lotteries to win money prizes and other gifts. In Ohio, the state is drawing two names each week — one person wins $1 million, and a 12- to 17-year-old will receive a full college scholarship. California will announce 10 lottery winners, each receiving $1.5 million. And in West Virginia, residents can win a college scholarship, a fully souped-up truck, $1.588 million or hunting rifles.
"Each of you has the power to help us gain this freedom as a nation," Biden said. "If you get a shot this week, you can be fully vaccinated by the week of July 4th. And you can celebrate Independence Day free from fear or worry."
As of June 3, there are 12 states that have hit the 70% milestone for vaccinations, and Biden said they "expect more" to meet that this week. Nationwide, 50.8% of the total population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 41% are now fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Looking at the population that is eligible for a vaccine, those aged 12 and up, 60.2% have had at least one dose and 48.6% are fully vaccinated.
"With 73% of Americans over the age of 40 with one shot, we especially need people under 40 to step up," Biden said, later emphasizing: "Free childcare. Free rides. Free shots."