Politics|Biden will announce free child care through major providers for vaccination appointments.
President Biden will announce on Wednesday that four of the nation’s largest child care providers have agreed to offer free child care to parents and caregivers while they get vaccinated against the coronavirus during the next month, part of an aggressive push to get 70 percent of American adults at least one shot by Mr. Biden’s deadline of July 4.
Currently, 62.8 percent of American adults have received at least one shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 12 states have passed the 70 percent mark, according to the White House.
The president is trying to speed things along. The child care announcement is part of what the White House is calling a “National Month of Action” — with participation by celebrities, athletes, social media influencers, national and community organizations — akin to a get-out-the-vote effort to meet Mr. Biden’s goal.
Wednesday’s announcement comes on the heels of other White House efforts intended to encourage vaccination, including last month’s pledge by Lyft and Uber to offer free rides. An Uber spokesman said Wednesday that 60,000 people have taken advantage of the offer since it began offering the service last Monday.
White House officials, previewing the president’s remarks on condition of anonymity, said in an interview that they are aware that the deeper they get into the vaccination campaign, the harder it will be to get people vaccinated. The president’s goal, they said, is to make vaccination easy, free and convenient — and even a little bit fun. (That may be where the celebrities come in, but they would not offer details.)
Demand for the vaccine is dropping; the Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that 351 federally-supported vaccination sites had closed since May 21, leaving a total of 1,619 nationwide. As of Tuesday, providers are administering about 1.23 million doses per day on average, about a 64 percent decrease from the peak of 3.38 million reported on April 13, according to C.D.C. data.
Lack of child care remains a major barrier to vaccination, experts say. The C.D.C. recently reported that vaccination coverage among adults was lower among those living in counties with lower socioeconomic status and with higher percentages of households with children, single parents, and people with disabilities.
White House officials, previewing the president’s announcement on condition of anonymity, said two of the four providers — KinderCare and Learning Care Group, which together have more than 2,500 sites around the country — will offer free, drop-in appointments to any parent or caregiver who needs support to get vaccinated or recover from vaccination.
The Y.M.C.A., with more than 500 sites nationwide, will offer drop-in care during vaccination appointments, the officials said. And Bright Horizons, which partners with more than 1,100 employers to provide child care, will also provide free care to support the vaccination of more than 10 million workers employed by the companies they serve.
“There is no question that both transportation and child care are real barriers for people,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. “The question that is unclear for me is whether offering free child care solves that problem” because parents might be unwilling to leave their children with caregivers they don’t know.
To that end, the officials said, Mr. Biden will encourage states to use money from the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress, to provide financial incentives or bonuses to smaller community child care providers to stay open extra hours or otherwise help people to get vaccinated.
As the rate of vaccination in the United States have climbed, cases have plummeted.
But experts are warning Americans not to get complacent, and say that it is likely the country will continue to see spikes in infections in certain regions like the South, where vaccination rates are low and the summer heat is driving people indoors, where the coronavirus spreads more efficiently.