Biden touts incentives, pleads with Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19

President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Haitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes MORE on Wednesday exhorted Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they haven't yet, announcing an aggressive campaign to reach his goal of having 70 percent of adults with at least one shot by July 4.

During a speech at the White House, Biden highlighted the benefits of being fully vaccinated and also warned about the consequences if the country's numbers don't improve.

“The bottom line is this: I promise you they are safe. They are safe,” Biden said. “And even more importantly, they’re extremely effective. If you’re vaccinated, you are protected.”

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Biden said the benefits of getting vaccinated are clear.

"Fully vaccinated people are safely shredding their masks and greeting one another with a smile. Grandparents are hugging their grandkids again ... because of the vaccination strategy," Biden said. 

But to speed the effort along, the White House is offering a range of incentives, including free child care for parents and caregivers at four of the nation's largest child care centers.

The administration is also partnering with Black-owned salons and barber shops as part of a "Shots at the Shop" initiative.

Biden last month set a goal to administer at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine to 70 percent of U.S. adults by Independence Day. On Wednesday he said 12 states have already reached that mark, and more are expected to get there this week.

"It’s clearer than ever: The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we’re going to have in our fight against this virus," Biden said. He said people under 40 especially need to step up and get vaccinated. 

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Biden called on every American to help get their communities vaccinated.

"We're asking the American people to help. We need you. We need you to get your friends, family and neighbors and co-workers vaccinated. Help them find an appointment, drive them to the site, talk to them about why you made the choice for yourself," Biden said.

The president warned that if the vaccination numbers don't improve, the health consequences could be severe.

“What happens after the summer? The data could not be clearer,” Biden said. “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.”