Guns, beer and childcare on offer for Americans in drive to increase COVID vaccinations

Guns, beer and childcare are among incentives being offered to Americans to encourage coronavirus vaccinations.

A total of 296,404,240 doses have been administered in the US, with 135,867,425 people – or 41.39% of the population – fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

A mixture of public and private sector motivations are being offered, as President Joe Biden continues the coronavirus vaccination of the country.

Mr Biden's first budget is almost $2trn higher than former President Donald Trump's final budget
Image:Joe Biden wants to increase vaccination rates

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When he took office on 20 January, the presidentset his sights on 4 July as an “independence day” from the virus, aiming for 70% of adults to have had at least one jab by then.

So far, around 63% of the US adult population has had at least one vaccine shot.

Mr Biden is set to announce later today a range of new measures to try and keep getting doses into arms, designating June a “month of action”.

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A spokesperson for the White House COVID-19 response team said: “We’re looking at June as a critical month in our path to normal and as a critical month in order to continue the progress we’re making in our vaccination campaign.”

For example, the White House will partner with childcare groups to help parents who need assistance while they get a jab or if they suffer side effects.

And from the private sector, brewery Anheuser-Busch announced a promotion to “buy Americans 21+ a round of beer” once the 70% target is met, although there were terms and conditions attached.

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March 2021: US to ‘outpace the rest of the world’

Meanwhile, Sky News affiliate NBC News reported that in West Virginia shotguns and hunting rifles are being offered to people who have had a jab.

Hunting and fishing are popular in the state, although there has been criticism from those in favour of gun control about the offers.

The average number of jabs a day is now down to fewer than 600,000 – compared to a daily peak of two million in early April.

Unlike many nations, the US has a surplus of doses, and will being sharing around 80 million vaccines with other nations this month.

Mr Biden is also deploying members of his administration – including Vice President Kamala Harris and first gentleman Doug Emhoff – around the country to help the drive.

Political apparatus including phone banks, texting lists, and door knocking are also being utilised to get people out to get a jab.

Competitions are being organised between cities and universities to see who can get the most vaccines administered.

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Companies like online food delivery service DoorDash and pharmacy giants CVS are also incentivising, with gift cards and sweepstakes for cruises and Super Bowl tickets on offer.

Supermarket chain Kroger said it will give away $1m to a vaccinated customer each week this month.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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