Last Thursday, President Joe Biden called on states to offer vaccine incentives in order to get Americans to vaccinate. In addition, he announced that the federal government will require vaccinations for all workers.
Vaccine Incentives To Make Americans Get Their Shots
Biden suggested that local governments offer vaccine incentives of $100 to unvaccinated Americans. He also suggested reimbursing businesses for employee days off for vaccination drives.
Biden talked about the need to increase vaccination rates. “I know that paying people to get vaccinated might sound unfair to folks who have gotten vaccinated already. But here's the deal, if incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them. We all benefit if we can get more people vaccinated.”
Federal Workers And Contracts Required To Get Vaccinated
Biden also announced that federal government employees and contractors must get vaccines. They will need to disclose their vaccination status. Those who will still refuse vaccines will need to wear a mask at work. They will also need to practice social distancing. Finally, they will need to undergo COVID-19 testing once or twice a week. Unvaccinated workers may also face restrictions on official travel.
Biden emphasized the need to integrate freedom with responsibility. “It's literally about life and death. It's about life and death. That's what it’s about.
I know people talk about freedom. But I learned growing up, school, and my parents, with freedom, comes responsibility. Your decision to be unvaccinated impacts someone else. Unvaccinated people spread the virus. They get sick and fill up our hospitals. And that means if someone else has a heart attack or breaks a hip, there may not be a hospital bed for them,” he said.
Vaccinations For Military Members
The President also directed the Department of Defense to look into adding COVID-19 shots into its list of required vaccinations. “Our men and women in uniform who protect this country from grave threats should be protected as much as possible from getting COVID-19. I think this is particularly important because our troops serve in places throughout the world, many where vaccination rates are low and disease is prevalent,” he added.
Biden also lauded the Department of Veteran Affairs for requiring vaccinations for its doctors and nurses. Many private healthcare systems also started requiring vaccinations for their entire workforce.
The VA made the decision following the deaths of four unvaccinated employees. “We must do everything possible to protect our veterans from getting covid when they come to get the medical care they so richly earned serving their country. We owe them,” he said.
Groups Objecting Federal Mandate and Vaccine Incentives
Soon after, groups representing federal employees across the country are raising their objections to the plan. Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, issued a statement.
“As an association representing those men and women charged with protecting the Constitutional rights of all Americans, including the right to privacy and choice, we are concerned by any move that would mandate the COVID-19 vaccine among federal employees,” he wrote.
The statement also said that the federal government collaborates with the association and other federal employee groups to provide vaccine incentives for workers.
Chad Hooper, the executive director of the IRS group Professional Managers Association, urged members to vaccinate as soon as possible. However, he noted that employees will encounter a vaccine mandate for the first time. “Consistent with vaccines for other illnesses, such as measles or influenza, PMA believes that agency leadership should have the discretion to determine whether any, some, or all of their staff must be vaccinated against COVID-19,” Hooper said in a statement.
COVID Vaccines Has Not Yet Received Full FDA Approval
“At this time, no COVID-19 vaccine has received full approval from the FDA, and this may be contributing to vaccine hesitancy across our country. We must ask the administration to craft any such mandate with care and consideration of our members' individual contraindications as well as their closely held personal and religious beliefs,” the statement added.
Vaccine manufacturers such as Pfizer, Moderna, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines operate under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) issued by the Food and Drug Administration.
Now, the agency is facing pressure to issue full authorization of COVID-19 vaccines. This can open the chance to mandate vaccinations in schools and the military. “The FDA recognizes that vaccines are key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic and is working as quickly as possible to review applications for full approval,” FDA spokesperson Alison Hunt said in a statement.
Watch the KHOU 11 video reporting that President Joe Biden calls on states and local governments to offer incentives for vaccines:
Do you agree that providing vaccine incentives can convince unvaccinated Americans to finally get their shots? Will you agree to a COVID-19 vaccine for $100. Or, do you think it’ll take more than $100 to agree to vaccines?
Let us know what you think. Share your comments below.
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