“We did it….Today we hit 200 million shots in the 92nd day in office,” Biden said in short remarks at the White House. “It is an incredible achievement for the nation.”
He also announced a new tax credit for businesses with less than 500 employees who give their employees time off with pay to get vaccinated, but urged all employers to do so.
“No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated,” Biden said.
His announcement is in keeping with his administration’s tendency to set goals and then exceed expectations. But the tax credit was the latest acknowledgement of the challenges his team faces in convincing significant numbers to get the vaccines, something that is essential to achieve herd immunity.
“Now is the time for everyone over 16 years of age to get vaccinated,” Biden said. He called it a “patriotic duty” to get vaccinated.
In an interview with Sean Hannity this week, Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, encouraged people to take the vaccine. He said that he was asked to do a PSA commercial urging people to do so, and indicated that he would “certainly do it.” But he said that he was dismayed that they paused the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“I said, ‘They want me to do this commercial, and they do this pause,'” he said, while claiming that Pfizer was “in” with the FDA.
During his speech, Biden singled out businesses that have provided special incentives to their employees to get vaccinated, like supermarket chain Kroger, which is offering $100 to each worker that gets the shots. He also identified a hair salon owner in Springfield, OH, who has a receptionist sign up workers and customers for the vaccine. Biden at one point said “saloon” instead of “salon,” before correcting himself and quipping, “they may be going to the saloon. I don’t know.”
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