President Joe Biden called on employers Wednesday to give workers time off to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and for any time needed to recover from the vaccination.
“As we move into the vaccination campaign focused on working age adults, one concern I’ve heard from so many Americans is that they can’t afford to take the time off to get vaccinated or lose a day’s work because they are feeling slightly under the weather after their shot, so today, I’m announcing a program to address that issue nationwide,” he said.
“I’m calling on every employer large and small in every state to give employees the time off they need with pay to get vaccinated and any time they need with pay to recover if they’re feeling under the weather after the shot. No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated,” Biden said.
He said that employees that do so will get a tax credit as part of the president’s American Rescue Plan. He pointed to a fact sheet released and posted by the IRS to show employers how to claim it on their quarterly tax filings.
The president also announced that the administration has met its goal of getting 200 million shots in 100 days.
“When tomorrow’s vaccine and vaccination numbers come out, it will show that today we did it. Today we hit 200 million shots on the 92nd day in office. 200 million shots in 100 days, in under 100 days actually. It’s an incredible achievement for the nation, and here is the context. You know at the pace we were moving when I took office, it would have taken us more than 220 days and almost seven months, seven and a half months to reach to 200 million shots,” he said.
“Instead of marking this milestone in April, we would not have seen it until early September at the earliest. Some experts say that the rapid vaccination effort has already saved tens of thousands of American lives. We’ll never know exactly, but we know it saved lives that would have otherwise been lost,” Biden said.
“Wherever you live, whatever your circumstances, if you are 16 or older, you are now eligible for a free COVID vaccine shot, and we have the vaccine to deliver,” the president said.
He said that “90 percent of the American people now live within 5 miles of a place they can get a shot, and under our federal vaccination program, shots will be available at nearly 40,000 pharmacies coast to coast, and if you can go into buy your shampoo or toothpaste, you can stop and get vaccinated. The vaccine is free. It’s convenient, and it’s increasingly available.”
Biden touted the progress his administration has made in getting people over 65 vaccinated.
“When I took office eight percent of the people over 65 had received their first shot. I’m pleased to announce that by tomorrow, that total will exceed 80% of people over 65,” he said.
Biden pointed to employers who have provided incentives to employees who choose to get vaccinated.
“We’re already seeing employers large and small stepping up to meet this historic moment. The grocery store Kroger’s offered employees $100 to get vaccinated. It helped push the vaccination rates from 50 percent to 75 percent among their associates,” he said.
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