President Joe Biden will call on all employers to allow staff to have paid time off to get coronavirus vaccines as he attempts to use a Wednesday address to turn to a new phase in his immunization strategy and reach millions of working-age adults who have put off getting their shots.
A senior administration official said Biden will announce that the country will, by Thursday, achieve his goal of administering 200 million vaccinations during the president's first 100 days in office.
However, that still leaves tens of millions of workers who need vaccinations before the country can get back to normal.
Biden, who is due to provide an update on his coronavirus strategy on Wednesday afternoon, will also unveil a tax credit for companies with up to 500 employees so they can offer time off for vaccinations.
“The president will be able to report that, by tomorrow, he will meet his goal of administering 200 million shots in his first 100 days about a week ahead of his 100th day in office,” the official told reporters on a conference call.
That means at least 133 million people have had at least one shot, he said. That includes more than 80% of seniors, but that still leaves 57% of working-age adults unvaccinated.
With everyone over 16 now eligible for immunization, the administration is turning more attention to how best to reach working adults.
“Our research shows that employers are especially effective in reaching the remaining unvaccinated population,” he said. “Thirty percent of unvaccinated employees say they are more likely to get a shot if their employer offers an incentive like a gift card.”
In addition, some 85% of people want paid time off for vaccinations and for time to recover if they suffer side effects.
“So, here’s the bottom line: Vaccines are the way back to normal, to return to our friends and families, to open up our businesses, to fully return to work, in-person dining, shipping, and other public locations,” he said.
“The president believes that no one should have to lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they got vaccinated, plain and simple.
“Today, the president will call on every employer in America, small, medium, large, to give their employees any time off they need to get vaccinated with pay.”
A fact sheet issued by the White House said the recently passed American Rescue Plan will fund a paid leave tax credit for up to 10 work days, at $511 per day, of sick leave offered up to the end of September.
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