Joe Biden Revs Up Corvette Summer For Vaccines
With summer coming on, Joe Biden yesterday reminded America that there is in fact still a pandemic out there, and while we're making really good progress on getting people vaccinated (60 percent of Americans over 12 have gotten at least one shot), we still have a lot of work to do to meet the goal of getting at least one shot into 70 percent of American arms by Independence day. Biden announced a "month of action" aimed at increasing vaccination rates, especially in the Midwest and the South, which lag behind the rest of the country.
"The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we're going to have in the fight against this virus," Biden said from the White House. He predicted that with more vaccinations, America will soon experience "a summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get togethers and celebrations. An All-American summer."
Here's the excellent news: The White House announced yesterday that 12 states have already vaccinated 70 percent of their adult residents — with at least one shot, although to be fully effective, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two injections. Politico points out that all 12 of those states voted for Biden, but you did not hear Joe Biden calling attention to that detail. The most completely vaccinated states are in New England, and if you want to brag about bipartisanship, the most-vaccinated state right now is Vermont, whose governor, Phil Scott, is a Republican. Nearly 80 percent of folks 12 and up there have had at least one shot, Scott tweeted yesterday. Just three people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the whole state.
Biden announced several initiatives yesterday aimed at getting the rest of the country moving in that direction, some which will make it even easier to get the free vaccinations, and others that will reward people who get their vaccination cards filled out.
For folks who haven't found time to go get vaccinated, the administration announced that many pharmacies participating in the vaccine effort will be extending their hours, including some 24-hour stores. "If you're too busy at work or school, you can get vaccinated around the clock," Biden said in his speech.
Beyond that, the White House has partnered with a bunch of child care outfits to make it easier for parents with young children to get vaxxed. The coolest part of this is at the end of the paragraph:
KinderCare, Learning Care Group, Bright Horizons and more than 500 YMCAs [will] provide free childcare coverage for Americans looking for shots or needing assistance while recovering from side effects.
Maybe I'm a sap, but that almost made me cry. It's how things should work all the time: Everybody should have childcare when they aren't feeling up to chasing after the kids.
This strikes us as incredibly smart, too:
The administration is also launching a new partnership to bring vaccine education and even doses to more than a thousand Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons, building on a successful pilot program in Maryland.
In addition, Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden (happy birthday, Dr. Biden!), second gentleman Doug Emhoff, and other officials from the Cabinet will go on a "We Can Do This" vaccination tour, mostly concentrating on the South, where vaccination rates are well behind the rest of the country.
And before y'all Terrible Ones start yammering on in the comments about how states that voted for Trump can just get sick and die, keep in mind that the virus doesn't care about politics, and there are tens of millions of people who aren't wingnuts in all those states, but who may need information and persuasion to get vaccinated. (Also, remember that people travel, so the more parts of the country bring up their vaccination rates, the safer we all are.)
And then there are the goofy lotteries and rewards, like Minnesota's program offering all vaccinated folks a choice of rewards, like free admission to aquariums, parks, zoos, and minor league ballparks, or a free fishing license. Biden called attention to several other programs sponsored by companies, like Anheuser-Busch's offer — if we get to the national 70 percent vax rate — of a free beer to anyone over 21 on July 4.
"Get a shot and have a beer," Biden said, advertising the promotion even though he himself refrains from drinking alcohol.
There will also be Major League Baseball ticket giveaways, and a very nice offer by Microsoft to give XBoxes to Boys and Girls Clubs as part of vaccine outreach and education. Whatever gets people moving, although the AP does also note that people signing up for the free shitty beer will have their data collected, according to the fine print on the offer website, because America.
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