'Get a shot and have a beer': US President Biden to Americans
Washington, June 03: Seeking to expand coronavirus vaccinations across the US, the Biden''s administration is now offering new incentives to Americans, including free beer and getting a shot at Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons.
Speaking at a White House event on his administration''s COVID-19 response and vaccination roll-out and his plans to get 70 per cent of adults partially vaccinated by Independence Day, President Joe Biden said that in just four months since he took over, "incredible progress" has been made in getting people vaccinated "quickly, efficiently, and equitably."
"Nearly 170 million (17 crore) Americans of every party, every background, every walk of life have stepped up, rolled up their sleeves, and gotten the shot," he said on Wednesday.
He said 52 per cent of adults were now fully vaccinated, including 75 per cent of all seniors. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have achieved 50 per cent of adults being fully vaccinated in their jurisdictions.
Biden said his administration will continue encouraging people to get vaccinated with incentives and fun rewards.
The NBA, the NHL, NASCAR - NASCAR tracks - they're offering vaccine - vaccines outside playoff games and at races. Major League Baseball will be offering free tickets to people who get vaccinated at the ballpark, he said.
"And to top it off, Anheuser-Busch announced that beer is on them on July the 4th. That's right, get a shot and have a beer. Free beer for everyone 21 years or over to celebrate the independence from the virus," the teetotaler president said.
The Biden administration has also said that it is teaming up with several organisations -- the Black Coalition Against COVID, the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity and the SheaMoisture company -- to launch an initiative called "Shots at the Shop" to engage Black-owned barber shops and beauty salons nationwide in efforts to promote vaccine education and outreach on a local level.
The White House said throughout the month of June, each participating shop will help share information about vaccines with customers, display educational materials, and some will even host on-site vaccination events in partnership with local providers.
"The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we're going to have in our fight against this virus," Biden said.
Since January 20, the average daily cases in the US are down from 184,000 to 19,000, below 20,000 for the first time since March of 2020. Average hospitalisations also is down from 117,000 to 21,000. Death rates are down over 85 per cent, he pointed out.
"I promised you we'd marshal a wartime effort to defeat this virus, and that's just what we've been doing.
"And now, tens of millions of Americans have been vaccinated. They're able to return to closer to a - closer-to-normal life," the president added.
Biden has made ending the pandemic the core project of his administration and hopes to ride into midterm elections next year by telling Americans that he has delivered, CNN noted.
But the seven-day average of new vaccines administered tumbled from more than 3 million per day in early April to just over 1 million per day before the Memorial Day weekend, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
According to scientists, at least 65 per cent to 70 per cent of the population need to be immunised to achieve "herd immunity" - when enough of a population has protection against an infection that it stops being able to spread.
But there are fears that some groups - especially some of the youngsters - may be more hesitant about getting a jab.