President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a tax credit for employers offering paid vacation-related vaccines as the White House urges more Americans to check for Covid shots amid a slight drop in vaccinations.
The small and medium-sized business tax credit will fully offset the cost of paid employee time off for vaccination as well as recovery from potential vaccination side effects, the White House said.
The Biden government also urges employers to use their resources to promote vaccinations by sharing accurate information and offering possible incentives such as product gifts and discounts for vaccinated individuals.
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“Every employee should be given paid vacation to get a shot, and companies should know they can offer it without affecting the bottom line,” Biden said in a speech at the White House. “There’s no excuse not to do it.”
The tax credit, which is part of the $ 1.9 trillion Covid stimulus plan that went into effect last month, applies to nearly half of all private sector workers, according to the White House.
For businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees, the tax credit covers paid vacation of up to $ 511 per day for up to 10 business days or 80 hours of work taken between April 1 and September 30, 2021.
President Joe Biden speaks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC on Wednesday April 21, 2021.
Sarah Silbiger | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Biden announced the tax credit after touting the fact that the U.S. will hit 200 million Covid shots given since he took office.
The president said if the pace of vaccinations had stayed the same as when he replaced former President Donald Trump, it would have taken 220 days to reach the same milestone.
“It’s an incredible achievement,” said Biden, “but we still have something to do with our target groups.”
The president urged everyone over the age of 16 to look for a Covid vaccine. “When you’ve been waiting for your turn, don’t wait any longer,” said Biden. “Now is the time.”
The president had originally tried to get 100 million shots in 100 days – a goal that has been criticized for being far too modest. The Biden government exceeded that number in 58 days.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 26% of the US population is fully vaccinated. Health experts have signaled that the percentage required to achieve what is known as herd immunity is much higher.
But the vaccination rate has dropped slightly in the past few days, although every U.S. adult is eligible for a Covid shot starting this week.
According to CDC data, the US reports an average of 3 million daily vaccinations over the past week, up from about 1.8 million in early March.
That level has fallen slightly in recent days, from a high of 3.4 million reported shots per day on April 13 to just more than 3 million on Tuesday.
The slight decrease in daily pace may be due in part to ongoing research into the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The US Food and Drug Administration advised states earlier this month to suspend the use of J & J’s shot “out of caution” after six women developed a rare bleeding disorder.
Although the J&J vaccine accounts for less than 4% of the total of 213 million vaccines administered in the U.S., it was used for an average of nearly 425,000 reported shots per day at peak levels in mid-April.
Unlike what Pfizer and Moderna offered, J & J’s vaccine only required one dose, making it ideal for certain communities that may have more difficulty accessing vaccination sites multiple times over several weeks.
Government officials said the country has enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to maintain a pace of 3 million shots a day.
The Biden government has maintained the urgency of vaccinations, stressing that Covid remains a serious threat – especially as highly contagious variants spread across the US
“It’s almost a race between vaccinating people and this surge that is apparently about to increase,” said leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, earlier this month.