Remember when the vaccines first became available a few months ago and we thought this whole thing was almost done? Yeah, that was nice. Shame not enough people got them. Due to lagging vaccination rates, especially in the midwestern and southern United States, hospitals are once again filling up with victims of COVID-19, made worse by the delta variant of the virus. During a series of statements at the White House yesterday, President Joe Biden announced that new incentives, as well as more stringent requirements on federal employees, were being enacted to finally get this thing under control.
“This is an American tragedy. People are dying — and will die — who don’t have to die. If you’re out there unvaccinated, you don’t have to die,” Biden said. “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.’”
Biden said that all federal government employees working within the White House will be required to disclose their vaccination status. According to a clarification from the White House, anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated “will be required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice weekly screening testing requirement, and be subject to restrictions on official travel.”
The Delta variant is surging across the country, but the good news is we’ve spent six months preparing for this possibility. The vaccines are highly effective — and we have enough for everyone.
Get protected today: https://t.co/4MYpWqXVVo pic.twitter.com/pkySebeZJy
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 30, 2021
As for American citizens who remain hesitant about vaccination, Biden suggested some new incentives such as paid time off and cash bonuses, as well as reimbursements for any businesses that need to give employees time off to get vaccinated and recover. “I know that paying people to get vaccinated might sound unfair to folks who got vaccinated already. But here’s the deal: if incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them. We all benefit,” Biden said.