Buffalo's Erie County had been struggling to attract people to its first-dose COVID vaccine clinics of late—a grand total of one person showed up to one of them, reports Sandra Tan of the Buffalo News. This weekend, though, health officials appear to have struck upon the secret formula: free beer. The line was out the door on Saturday morning before the clinic even began at a local brewery. By mid-afternoon, more than 100 had gotten shots, and the number was rising quickly. "We're going to do more people today at our first-dose clinics than most of our first-dose clinics in the last week combined," says County Executive Mark Poloncarz. "We figured it would be pretty good, but now we're seeing the results."
The county is using a "Shot and a Chaser" promotion, with the idea to lure people in their 20s and 30s in particular. New Jersey is doing the same thing with its "Shot and a Beer" program, notes NBC News. The light-hearted approaches speak to what health officials around the US see as a serious issue: The pace of vaccinations is slowing as the US gets down to the core group of people in the "vaccine hesitant" camp, per the Guardian. States have been rejecting their full allotment of doses from the federal government because the demand just isn't there. On Saturday, the nation doled out 2 million shots, down 20% from the previous week. As of Monday, about 46% of the US population had received at least one dose. (The idea of achieving "herd immunity" may be out of reach.)