An American vaccine program involving giving away shots of whiskey, mugs of beer and other incentives in exchange for inoculations has become increasingly popular across the nation as it attempts to vaccinate as many people as possible before the Summer travel season starts.
“Shots for shots,” a West Virginia program, gave away shots of the state’s prized product in an effort to increase lagging vaccination rates earlier this Spring. Now, residents of Washington, D.C. can have a free beer on the US government as President Biden puts the pedal to the metal in his drive to get at least 70% of all Americans vaccinated before July 4th, Independence Day.
A number of states have given away other prizes, including tickets in a special lottery set up in Ohio, to encourage vaccinations. The state of Maine, the headquarters of outdoor equipment and clothing giant LLBean, gave away free gift certificates to the store as well as free fishing licenses, park passes and hunting licenses.
President Biden, who met — and far surpassed — his goal of getting at least 100 million Americans inoculated in his first 100 days in office, set an extremely ambitious goal for July 4th, when the country celebrates its independence, of having at least 70% of all Americans vaccinated.
All Americans urged to get their shots by July 4th
On Wednesday, Biden announced what he termed “A month of action,” in which all Americans are urged to get their shots before July 4th. The incentive program for this involves a promotional giveaway on the part of beer giant Anheuser-Busch, which said it would buy any American who is 21 and over “a round of beer” as soon as Biden’s 70% goal is met.
“Get a shot and have beer,” is one way the American President termed the latest drive, having no qualms about promoting the campaign although he himself does not drink alcohol.
“The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we’re going to have in the fight against this virus,” Biden stated from the White House yesterday. He said that with every new vaccination, the US will soon be able to experience “a summer of freedom, a Summer of joy, a summer of get-togethers and celebrations. An All-American Summer.”
Other vaccine promotions include cash giveaways, tickets to sporting events and paid leave from work to encourage all those who have not been vaccinated to get their shots.
The Biden administration believes that the month of June is “a critical month in our path to normal,” stated Courtney Rowe, the director of strategic communications and engagement for the White House coronavirus response team, in an interview with the Associated Press.
The White House is trying everything it can find up its sleeve to encourage Americans to roll up their sleeves and receive coronavirus vaccinations after the miraculous inoculations, promising life-saving benefits, have not proven enough of an incentive for some.
Biden’s vaccination scheme will continue to employ both public and private sector partnerships, mirroring the entire government approach he used to get shots out to people since he took office in January.
The President stated on Wednesday he was “pulling out all the stops” to urge all Americans to finally get the shots that they are privileged to have access to.
The White House is also partnering with 500 YMCA’s and other community groups to provide free child care coverage to those who need to take time off to get their inoculations or recover from possible side effects afterward.
US partners with American communities to increase vaccine awareness
In addition, a new partnership has been launched to raise vaccine awareness in the African-American community by bringing vaccine education and doses to barbershops and beauty salons, building on the success of a similar program in the state of Maryland.
“The fact remains that despite all the progress, those who are unvaccinated still remain at risk of getting seriously ill or dying or spreading the disease to others, Rowe stated.
One of the most successful ways to enable working Americans to receive the inoculations has been after-hours vaccination clinics. Now, even more pharmacies across the nation will stay open after normal hours — and according to the AP report, thousands will now remain open all night long every Friday, helping those who have different working schedules to squeeze in a time for their shot.
The White House also stated that it will encourage employers to begin running their own vaccination clinics if they have not done so already.
In addition, Vice President Kamala Harris will be heading a new publicity tour, called “We Can Do This,” around the country, which will also feature the efforts of First Gentleman Doug Imhoff and Jill Biden. Their efforts will be concentrated in the American South, which has shown the greatest amount of vaccine hesitancy of all the regions around the nation.
Other officials will make appearances in the Midwest, which also lags in the vaccination rate.
As of Wednesday, a total of 366,977,535 vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S., and 296,912,892 had been administered, or 80.91 percent. Additionally, 168,734,435 Americans had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 136,155,250 are now fully vaccinated.
State of Maine leads nation with 55% now fully vaccinated
That means 50.8 percent of the U.S. population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 41 percent are fully vaccinated.
Maine, a large state with a mostly rural population, leads the way in the vaccination effort in the United States, where there have been a total of 1.59 million vaccine doses administered. 739,000 Maine residents are now fully vaccinated, representing 55.0% of the population.
California is next proportionally, with 38.5 million doses given out and 17.1 million of its residents now fully vaccinated, representing 43.3% of its total population.
The state of Texas is in third place, 23.1 million doses of the vaccine administered and 10.4 million Texans now fully vaccinated; this represents 35.7% of the total population of this enormous state.
New York, which was affected so severely by the pandemic, has now administered 19.8 million shots, meaning that 9,180,000 of its residents are now fully vaccinated, representing 47.2% of the population.
However, vaccination rates have slowed across the nation since the first feverish months of lightning-fast inoculation campaigns were set in place. Now, the average vaccination rate has slowed to under 555,000 per day, from a high of two million per day in early April.
With the US nearing saturation point in those who are willing to receive the vaccine, Bien is now considering sharing the 80 million doses it has in reserve with the rest of the world beginning this month.
“All over the world, people are desperate to get a shot that every American can get at their neighborhood drugstore,” Biden said in his Wednesday remarks. Exactly how that will play out is yet to be seen.
The death rate and the case rate for the coronavirus are now at their lowest since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, averaging 16,000 new cases and under 400 deaths per day in the country which has a population of over 325 million.