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With the pace of vaccination in the U.S. slowing, the Biden administration’s goal of getting 70 percent of adults inoculated with at least one shot by July 4 is looking harder. Given that, a month-long campaign has begun with incentives from state governments, sports leagues, and businesses meant to get people to roll up their sleeves. William Brangham reports.
The growth of the so-called Delta COVID variant in the U.K. and more recently in the U.S. is worrying health officials.
Vaccines have proven effective against all the variants, particularly when someone is fully vaccinated, but the pace of inoculations in the U.S. is slowing.
Last week, the U.S. was averaging about 800,000 doses a day, well below this spring, when 2.5 to 3 million were being given each day. The Biden administration's goal of getting 70 percent of adults inoculated with at least one shot by July 4 is looking harder.
Given that, a month-long campaign has begun, with incentives from state governments, sports leagues, and businesses, all to get people to roll up their sleeves.
William Brangham has the story.
President Joseph Biden:
Do it for yourself. Do it to protect those more vulnerable than you, your friends, your family, and your community.
While roughly 140 million Americans eagerly lined up for their shots, officials are trying creative new ways to get the rest of the country into a vaccination center.
Is transportation the problem? Uber and Lyft have partnered with the White House to offer discounted rides to vaccination sites. Major League Baseball teams are offering free tickets to people who get their jabs at the ballpark. There's free beer being offered to vaccinated adults in multiple cities.
It's one of the reasons I came out here is. It's my day off. A free beer is better than a beer you pay for, so nice day to bring a dog out to a park.
Anheuser-Busch says, if the country meets the Biden administration's 70 percent vaccination goal by July 4, it'll offer 200,000 people a free round to celebrate independence from the virus.
United Airlines' frequent fliers can upload their vaccination card for a shot to win free flights for a year. But one of the sweetest rewards, Krispy Kreme is giving away free doughnuts for the inoculated through the end of the year.
I think it's a great idea. I mean, Krispy Kremes are delicious.
The vaccination is a reward all by itself. I mean, that is the reward, staying alive. But the doughnut is just like a little pat on the back.
In the nation's capital, where marijuana possession is legal, home growers offered free pot to those getting their shots.
Just like they're giving away Krispy Kreme doughnuts, we're giving away joints.
Washington state, in tandem with its commercial cannabis industry, announced a similar so-called joints-for-jabs promotion.
Gov. Gavin Newsom.:
Fifty thousand dollars, 15 people.
And for those who want a shot at winning a fortune with their shot, several states have rolled out lotteries, with scholarships and prizes ranging from $10,000 to $1 million.
A stable future, after the last year that we have had, is worth all the money in the world. But, of course, it doesn't hurt to take your chance at a million dollars as well.
And in West Virginia, a state that had one of the most successful initial rollouts, newly vaccinated young adults are offered $100 gift cards and the chance to win free vacations in state parks, college scholarships, and one of five custom-made shotguns.
It's hard to know how effective these incentives are at motivating the hesitant. But, in Ohio at least, the Vax-a-Million lottery seems to be working. In the first week after the program began, the state saw a 28 percent increase in the vaccination rate for those 16 and older.
And for those who don't win a million dollars, there will still be doughnuts.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm William Brangham.
Let's hope it all works, and let's hope everybody who can gets vaccinated.
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William Brangham is a correspondent and producer for PBS NewsHour in Washington, D.C. He joined the flagship PBS program in 2015, after spending two years with PBS NewsHour Weekend in New York City.
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