Joe Biden meets African-American woman
Joe Biden meets African-American woman

This Bud’s for you, and anyone else ready to roll up their sleeve to put the pandemic behind them.

The White House’s new partnership with Anheuser-Busch offering free beers if the country reaches its goal of getting 70% of adults at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot by July 4 — almost Prohibition in reverse — is more than a gimmick.

It’s a headline that heralds a widening, more micro-targeted approach to getting skeptical Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 and a shift from an approach that saw mass vaccination sites earlier this year.

It’s also a sign of growing concern about slowing inoculation rates, fears that millions of unprotected Americans could be vulnerable to new viral spikes in the fall and a desire to preserve the miracle wrought by vaccines.

After several days in which Dr Anthony Fauci’s just-released emails painted a picture of foreboding at the beginning of the crisis last year, President Joe Biden conjured up the prospect of a Covid-free future at the White House.”Get a shot and have a beer. Free beer for everyone 21 years or over to celebrate the independence from the virus,” he said.

There’s more than free booze on offer from the teetotaler Biden and his web of private-sector partnerships announced on Wednesday to convince skeptics to get vaccinated.

Go for a trim in a Black-owned barbershop — traditional community hubs — and a Covid-19 vaccine comes at no extra cost. Parents who get the shots can get free child care while they’re inoculated.

Cities will compete to grow vaccination rates. Employers can cash in tax credits if they let workers feeling side effects from the vaccine take time off.

Some 136 million Americans are fully vaccinated. But the percentage of US adults who have had at least one dose is at 62.8%, meaning that Biden’s target of 70% before Independence Day could represent a challenge.

The President promised Americans a golden summer on Wednesday as the country reopens at a rapid pace and the economic recovery accelerates. But he leavened his cheerleading with a stark warning of a possible grim winter — unless more citizens overcome their unwillingness to get vaccines.

“America is headed into the summer dramatically different from last year’s summer: A summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get-togethers and celebrations. An all-American summer that this country deserves,” he said. But the President added: “What happens after the summer? …

For all the progress we’re making as a country, if you are unvaccinated, you are still at risk of getting seriously ill or dying or spreading disease to others, especially when Americans spend more time indoors again closely gathered in the fall, and as we face the potential threat of a new, more dangerous variants.