‘Take a picture and have a beer’: Biden’s new Covid strategy wins over vaccine skeptics

“Get yourself a shot and drink a beer. Free beer for anyone who is 21 or older to celebrate independence from the virus,” he said.

There is more than free alcohol being offered by teetotaler Biden and his network of private sector partnerships announced Wednesday to convince skeptics to get the shot. Go for a haircut at a black-owned hair salon – traditional community centers – and a Covid-19 vaccine is provided at no additional cost. Parents who are vaccinated can benefit from free child care while they are vaccinated. Cities will compete to increase vaccination rates. Employers can cash in tax credits if they allow workers who experience side effects from the vaccine to be absent.

And Vice President Kamala Harris adds to her growing portfolio of intractable issues, which include voting rights and stemming the tide of humanity approaching the southern border of the United States, by launching a nationwide vaccine tour.

The incentive package builds on the success of states like Ohio that have seen immunization rates improve when they adopted strategies such as million dollar lotteries for those who have had their injections.

The vaccination campaign reaches a “harder” phase

Officials always knew the country would reach a point where the supply of once scarce shots exceeded demand. The fact that so many people are now at least partially protected, and as a result the virus has decreased, may mean that latecomers see less need to be vaccinated.

“Because we were so successful in the beginning, now we come to the part of the campaign that is more difficult,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” Wednesday.

The White House’s new vaccination campaign reflected important public health, economic and political considerations. Fear of further human misery later in the year, after nearly 600,000 deaths in the United States from Covid-19, is a powerful motivator. The virus’s vengeance return to some areas could also hamper the economic rebound, which has stalled in places amid complications to get millions of Americans back to work. Heeding the government’s new forecast of 5% economic growth this year is also vital for Biden in a political sense. The president has made ending the pandemic the central project of his administration and hopes to run in the midterm election next year by telling Americans he has kept his promises.

But the seven-day average of new vaccines given rose from over 3 million a day in early April to just over a million a day before Memorial Day weekend, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. the United States.

Some 136 million Americans are fully immunized. But the percentage of American adults who have received at least one dose is 62.8%, which means Biden’s goal of 70% by Independence Day could be a challenge.

But in an interview with CNN’s “New Day” on Thursday, Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease specialist, said the country was on “a very good track now to really crush this epidemic.” He also said he was “fairly” confident that the United States would not see the infectious outbreaks after the Memorial Day holiday, as was observed after the holiday last year.

The president promised Americans a golden summer on Wednesday as the country reopens at a rapid pace and economic recovery accelerates. But he raised his cheerleaders with a stern warning of a possible grim winter – unless more citizens overcome their reluctance to get vaccinated.

“America is heading for a radically different summer from the summer of last year: a summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of meeting and celebrating. An all-American summer that this country deserves,” he said. he declared.

But the president added: “What happens after the summer? … Despite all the progress we are making as a country, if you are not vaccinated you are still at risk of becoming seriously ill or dying or spreading the disease to others, especially when Americans spend more time. inside again tightly gathered in the fall, and as we face the potential threat of a new, more dangerous variant. “

Biden nods to Trump’s role in vaccine development

The president’s warning raises a prospect that has troubled medical professionals: that there could be hot spots of infection in the winter, especially in areas of the country where vaccination has been low.

In some scenarios, this could mean America’s deep divisions are sketched in a pattern of higher Covid-19 infections. The data shows a tendency for residents of more politically conservative states and counties to be more skeptical of vaccines, often in a way that reflects more lax adherence to coronavirus mitigation measures.

Former President Donald Trump won all but seven of the 50 counties with the lowest percentage of fully vaccinated adults in the country in the last election, according to a CNN Politics analysis of CDC’s May 20 data. Analysis does not include data from nine states (Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia) where less than 85% of immunization records contained valid information. on a person’s county of residence or the CDC otherwise had incomplete data.

With that in mind, it was notable that Biden argued that getting shot was not a partisan act.

“The science was done under the Democratic and Republican administrations. In fact, the first vaccines were licensed under a Republican president and largely developed by a Democratic president,” he said.

Yet it’s still unclear how effective Biden can be at addressing Trump supporters, many of whom don’t believe he is a legitimate president thanks to his predecessor’s campaign of lies about an election. stolen. This is one of the reasons the prospect of using Trump as a messenger continues to bubble up. The former president, however, doesn’t seem to have much interest in public service announcements other than claiming the vaccines as a personal achievement that saved the country. In fact, he took his own shot behind closed doors before leaving the White House.

There are multiple reasons beyond politics, for example, why people may choose not to be vaccinated. There is mistrust of scientists and government experts in some communities. Some African Americans are wary of mass vaccination campaigns for historical reasons. Some rural areas that have not experienced high concentrations of the virus and where people live further away than in cities may view vaccines as a lower priority. Young people, who are less likely to become seriously ill or die but who may still have lasting effects from Covid-19, are of particular concern to health officials.

Despite public information campaigns, confusion persists among some Americans as to whether they are eligible to get the snapshots. The relentless disinformation and politicization of some conservative media does little to help in this regard.

Dr Seema Yasmin, a former CDC disease detective, told CNN’s “Inside Politics” Wednesday that the vaccine action month was important because it targeted different communities in different ways.

“One of the things that annoys me about public health is when we have a single message for everyone: ‘Go get the vaccine, that’s for sure,'” said Yasmin.

“You actually talk to six people who are hesitant about vaccines… you can hear six very different reasons – historical, geographic, cultural, religious reasons – why they may not be very confident about getting vaccinated.”

That’s why government officials are now emphasizing an almost one-to-one approach to getting enough Americans vaccinated to fend off the virus.

“It’s not just about what the government can do. It’s about what each of us can do. It’s about you making the decision to get vaccinated and talking to your family and your friends, ”Murthy told Tapper.

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