The Biden administration announced a set of additional measures and incentives to help increase vaccination rates and combat the spread of the Delta variant in the United States with indications of a third wave of the COVID-19 looming.
Speaking at the White House, President Joe Biden said the federal government will now reimburse those employers who give their staff time off not only to get themselves vaccinated, but also to get their family members vaccinated.
He called on all states and local governments to use funding they have received, including from the American Rescue Plan, to give $100 to anyone who gets fully vaccinated.
The President asked school districts to host one last pop-up vaccination clinic over the coming weeks for kids aged 12 and above.
The administration will continue to provide states with more testing, treatments, protective equipment, personnel, mobile vaccination clinics to stem the surge of the virus among the unvaccinated.
The Department of Veterans Affairs will now require COVID-19 vaccines for doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers who provide medical care for veterans.
Every federal government employee will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. Anyone who does not attest or is not vaccinated will be required to wear mask no matter where they work; test one or two times a week to see if they have acquired COVID; socially distance; and generally will not be allowed to travel for work.
The President also directed his administration to take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors. “If you want to do business with the federal government, get your workers vaccinated,” he said.
He called on the Chamber of Commerce representing tens of thousands of American businesses, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable, which is comprised of the largest and biggest corporations in America, to follow suit.
Biden said under his direction, all federal personnel and visitors to federal buildings will be required to wear masks.
“We all want our lives to get back to normal, and fully vaccinated work places will make that happen more quickly and more successfully,” he added.
Endorsing the CDC’s recent recommendation for the fully vaccinated people to wear a mask when in public and indoors, Biden said, “Because even if you’ve been fully vaccinated and protected from severe illness from COVID-19, you could have the Delta variant in your system and spread it to someone who isn’t vaccinated”.
He said nearly all of the cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19 today are reported among unvaccinated people. He cited report from a recent study which showed that more than 99 percent of COVID-19 deaths had been among people who haven’t received vaccination.
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