He also announced a slew of other measures to encourage people to get the jab amid rise in severe cases, deaths
United States President Joe Biden July 30, 2021 urged states to give $100 (Rs 7,432) vaccine incentive to encourage Americans to get fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to media reports.
The announcement came amid a fresh surge in severe infections and deaths along with slipping vaccination rates. The surge is linked to the delta variant, according to US health experts.
The US president said during his White House address:
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.”
Offices should extend paid leave to employees who require time off to get themselves and their family vaccinated, he added. The government will reimburse small- and medium-sized businesses for the same.
Biden also announced stringent restrictions for unvaccinated federal employees in what is being considered as his “sternest approach” to improve the country’s vaccination rates.
The vaccination status of each government employee and on-site contractor will be verified. Those who did not get the jab will have to wear masks at the workplace and maintain social distancing from colleagues and people they interact with on official purpose, the White House informed.
They will also have to “comply with a weekly or twice weekly screening testing requirement and be subject to restrictions on official travel”.
Employees refusing to get vaccinated, however, will not be fired, the government clarified.
Around 50 per cent of the US population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with large regional variations, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The country has been recording over 60,000 fresh infections daily over the last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The CDC updated its mask mandate July 27, 2021 to advise every citizen in COVID-19 hotspots, including those fully vaccinated, wears mask indoors. This was in reaction to the growing evidence that vaccinated individuals are almost as vulnerable to the delta variant as those not inoculated.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.