Biden Details Covid-19 Action Plan
In a speech to the White House Thursday, President Biden announced plans for further action to boost coronavirus vaccinations and slow the spread of the Delta variant in the United States.
The contagious variant tears apart unvaccinated communities, threatening to undo the progress the Biden administration has made in its first six months. About half of all Americans have been fully immunized, but the pace of immunizations has dropped significantly since early spring. Recent research has shown that fully vaccinated people are protected from the worst consequences of Covid-19, including those involving the Delta variant. And cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still only a fraction of their devastating winter peaks.
Here are the key points of the plan:
Strengthen protocols for federal employees and contractors. All civilian federal employees will need to be vaccinated or be required to undergo regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements, as well as restrictions on most travel. The federal government employs more than 4 million Americans nationwide and abroad.
Urge vaccination mandates for members of the military. The Defense Ministry has been asked to clarify when and how it will add the coronavirus vaccine to the list of mandatory vaccinations for members of the military. The President stressed the importance of vaccination for the military, as US troops serve in countries with low vaccination rates and where Covid-19 is prevalent.
Expand paid leave to allow immunization of families and children. Small and medium-sized businesses will be reimbursed for offering employees paid time off to get vaccinated and their family members. Children under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated but will likely be eligible later this year.
Call on local and state governments to offer $ 100 incentives to get vaccinated. States, territories and local governments are urged to do more to encourage vaccination, including offering $ 100 to those who get vaccinated. Some states, including New Mexico, Ohio, and Colorado, have piloted $ 100 incentive programs that have helped lower vaccination rates. New York City said this week that the city will also begin offering payments of $ 100.
Increase immunizations for children returning to class. School districts are encouraged to hold at least one pop-up vaccination clinic over the next few weeks, with the goal of increasing vaccination rates in children 12 and older. Mr Biden said that although nearly 90 percent of educators and school staff are vaccinated, he believes every student should have an accessible way to get vaccinated. The administration is also asking pharmacies in the federal pharmacy program to prioritize children 12 and older and to work with school districts across the country to organize immunization clinics in schools and colleges.
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