Mesa Is First Arizona City To Join White House Vaccine Challenge

Published: Thursday, June 3, 2021 - 2:44pm
Updated: Friday, June 4, 2021 - 9:25am
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President Joe Biden wants 70% of American adults to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Independence Day. The city of Mesa is joining in the White House push for more vaccinations this month.

“For all the progress we are making as a country, if you are unvaccinated, you are still at risk for getting seriously ill or dying or spreading the disease to others," Biden said Wednesday as he announced several new incentives to get Americans to roll up their sleeves.  

In the month leading up to the Fourth of July, the White House is coordinating with YMCA and three other child care chains to offer drop-in child care for parents and caregivers needing support to get vaccinated or to recover from a vaccine. Several national pharmacy chains have agreed to offer extended hours for vaccinations in June. And Anheuser-Busch will even give away free beer to Americans 21 and older on the Fourth of July as a vaccination incentive. 

But the Biden administration is also challenging American mayors to compete for which city can boost its vaccination rate fastest. Mesa mayor John Giles was the first mayor in Arizona to sign onto the challenge.

“This is how your children will be protected, this is how as a community we can get past the anxiety of interacting with other people, the economic consequences,” Giles said. “It’s a little troubling to see the supply is now outstripping the demand for the vaccine, so this is where the work begins."

Twelve states have already surpassed the 70% adult vaccination rate goal, but only about 58% of Arizona adults have had a shot. And demand for vaccines in the state has dramatically declined over the past several weeks. 

Most Mesa ZIP codes have below-average vaccination rates for the county, Maricopa County Public Health data shows. Giles said he’s pushing for more community-level vaccination events this month.

“If people have been hesitant in the past because they thought they’d have to wait in long lines or go at one in the morning, those days are over," Giles said. "You can walk up right now and get a vaccine. It will just take a few minutes out of your day, there’s no reason not to, there’s lots of reasons to do it.”

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