WASHINGTON, June 2 (Reuters) - From free beer to free childcare, President Joe Biden on Wednesday touted new efforts to get 70% of U.S. adults at least one shot of vaccination against COVID-19 by the July 4 Independence Day holiday.
The Democratic president has made recovering from the pandemic one of his top priorities in his first few months in office. A rollout of vaccines has led to a dramatic drop in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths nationwide, a trend the White House is eager to extend.
Some 63% of U.S. adults have currently received at least one vaccine shot, according to government data. The White House touted new initiatives by private companies and public outreach efforts, while Biden encouraged those who are hesitant to get a shot.
The teetotaling president lauded an announcement by Anheuser-Busch to give a free beer to adults over the age of 21 if the goal is reached.
"That's right: Get a shot, have a beer," Biden said. "We need everyone across the country to pull together to get us over the finish line," he said. "I promise you, we can do this."
Other new initiatives highlighted by the White House include:
- Free childcare from four major childcare providers for parents and caregivers who are getting vaccinated or recovering from the shots.
- Extended Friday night hours at thousands of pharmacies across the country where people can get vaccinated.
- Calls and canvassing in neighborhoods with low vaccination rates.
- A vaccination tour led by Vice President Kamala Harris to encourage people to get the shot.
- An initiative to work with barbershops and beauty salons with Black owners and clientele to encourage vaccination.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Nandita Bose; Editing by Howard Goller and Jonathan Oatis)