WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden said Thursday afternoon that he wants states to create incentive programs to help increase vaccination rates, including making a $100 payment to those who get a vaccine against COVID.
Biden also asked the private sector to adopt incentives and mandates, which he said can make a huge difference against the coronavirus pandemic “of the unvaccinated.”
Biden also gave civilian federal workers two options: Either get vaccinated or agree to preventive measures such as regular testing. He said it’s important to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that both the vaccinated and unvaccinated wear a face mask indoors.
“A mask is not a political statement. It’s about protecting yourself and protecting others,” Biden said.
Biden said it’s important to understand that vaccines are designed to save lives and prevent severe illness. He said some fully vaccinated people will still test positive, but those cases are rare and usually mild.
“It’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated. There are about 9 million Americans who are eligible to get the shot, but they haven’t gotten it yet,” Biden said, adding that about 99% of deaths are of patients who were not vaccinated.
Biden said the situation is heartbreaking. The vaccine, he said, is the culmination of decades of research, so those who are concerned about a “rushed vaccine” shouldn’t be.
“The vaccines are safe; highly effective. There is nothing political about them,” Biden said.