President Joe Biden has asked state and local governments to pay newly vaccinated individuals $100 each as a vaccination reward. The incentive is to encourage people to get vaccinated – but not payable to people who had earlier been vaccinated. Biden tasked states to make the payment from the $350 billion funding which is part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law in March.
The Treasury Department said the initiative will motivate unvaccinated people to get the shots and protect families and communities in the face of the new Delta COVID-19 variant. The department said they will work with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure the funds are well appropriated to boost vaccinations across all communities.
Biden said incentivizing the vaccine is a crucial step towards eradicating the surge of the pandemic in the United States, and that a mask mandate will be activated for effectiveness. He made this announcement during a COVID-19 media briefing at the White House.
“I know that paying people to get vaccinated might sound unfair to folks that have gotten vaccinated already, but here’s the deal: if incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them,” Biden said. “We all benefit if we can get more people vaccinated.”
Given that some states and private businesses encourage employees to get vaccinated by offering lotteries, free food, and other incentives, the Treasury Department said states and local governments could use the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief fund to fight COVID-19 progression and incentivize vaccines. This motivation becomes necessary with the rising hospitalizations and deaths occasioned by the Delta variant.
Although about 70% of US adults have taken at least a jab, the general rate of vaccination has declined in recent weeks, raising concerns for policymakers. To this end, Biden mandated that federal government workers and onsite contractors submit proofs of vaccination or undergo coronavirus tests weekly in addition to maintaining physical distancing, washing of hands, and face masking.
The CDC also revealed that vaccinated people wear face masks indoors and in areas where the spread of the disease is significant. The federal agency stated that people who are vaccinated can still transmit the Delta variant to others. The agency emphasized that the new regulations will make a huge difference and save a lot of lives. Biden noted that the people dying now do not have to die if they would take the vaccine before getting infected.
“This is an American tragedy. People are dying – and will die – who don’t have to die,” he said. “If you’re out there unvaccinated, you don’t have to die. Read the news. You’ll see stories of unvaccinated patients in hospitals, as they’re lying in bed dying from Covid-19, they’re asking, ‘Doc, can I get the vaccine?’ The doctors have to say, ‘Sorry, it’s too late.'”