President-elect Joe Biden

Biden incentivize Covid-19 vaccinations

2021/07/30 11:42 家族 健康

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a number of new steps his administration will take to try to get more Americans

vaccinated and slow the spread of coronavirus, including requiring that all federal employees must attest to being vaccinated

against Covid-19 or face strict protocols.

The new measures come amid a rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the US. The vast majority of those individuals with

severe cases of Covid-19 are unvaccinated.

"This is an American tragedy. People are dying --and will die --who don't have to die. If you're out there unvaccinated, you

don't have to die, "Biden said during remarks at the White House." 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.' "

In his sternest approach yet to pushing Americans to get vaccinated, the President bluntly argued that if you are unvaccinated,

"You present a problem to yourself, to your family and to those with whom you work."

Joe Biden announces measures to incentivize Covid-19 vaccinations, including a requirement for federal employees

Biden said every federal government employee and on-site contractor will be asked to attest to their vaccination status.

Employees who have not been vaccinated "will be required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location, physically

distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice weekly screening testing requirement, and be subject

to restrictions on official travel, "the White House said ahead of Biden's speech.

The federal employee vaccination requirement is not a mandate, officials have insisted, and most federal employee who do not get

vaccinated will not lose their jobs as a result, CNN previously reported.



But the decision nonetheless marks a pivot away from encouraging Americans to get vaccinated in their own time and stepping toward

placing the onus on unvaccinated individuals.

Other efforts the administration debuted Thursday to incentivize vaccinations included expanding paid leave for employees who take

time off to get themselves and their family members vaccinated. Biden said employers would be reimbursed. He also called on states,

territories, and local governments to do more to incentivize vaccination, including offering $100 to Americans getting vaccinated,

paid for with American Rescue Plan funding.

"I know that paying people to get vaccinated might sound unfair to folks who got vaccinated already. But here's the deal: if

incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them. We all benefit," Biden said.







The President also announced that he is ordering the Department of Defense "to look into how and when they will add Covid-19 to the

list of vaccinations our Armed Forces must get."

"Our men and women in uniform, who protect this country from grave threats, should be protected as much as possible from getting

Covid-19," he said. "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," Biden added.

All military and civilian Defense Department personnel will be asked to attest to their vaccination status, the department said

Thursday evening. Those unable or unwilling to do so will "be required to wear a mask, physically distance, comply with a regular

testing requirement and be subject to official travel restrictions," Jamal Brown, deputy Pentagon press secretary, said in a



The department is also considering adding the Covid vaccine to the list of required vaccines for military personnel.

"Secretary (of Defense Lloyd) Austin will begin consulting our medical professionals, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to

determine how and when to make recommendations to the President with respect to adding the COVID-19 vaccines to the full list of

requirements for military personnel," Brown said.

The President on Thursday also called on school districts nationwide to host at least one pop-up vaccination clinic over the coming

weeks in an effort to get more kids 12 and older vaccinated.

Responding to reporter questions after his remarks, the President said he didn't know yet whether the federal government had the

power to require vaccines. "It's still a question whether the federal government can mandate the whole country" require vaccines,

he said, adding that he expects the vaccines will be fully approved by the US Food and Drug Administration by the fall.


But soon after the President's speech, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients told CNN's Wolf Blitzer the

administration is not considering a nationwide Covid-19 vaccine requirement.

"That's not an authority that we're exploring at all," Zients said on "The Situation Room."

On Monday, the Justice Department determined that federal law doesn't prohibit public agencies and private businesses from

requiring Covid-19 vaccines -- even if the vaccines have only emergency use authorization so far. Biden's aides had previously said

they do not believe he has the power to require all Americans to get shots. But his oversight of the federal workforce, they

believed, can be a powerful model to other employers considering their options on requiring vaccines.

But several groups representing federal workers across the government are already raising concerns about the requirement for their

personnel, including groups representing federal law enforcement officers, IRS managers and members of the US Border Patrol, among


Other groups, like the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, have come out in support.

The goal of the requirement, Biden aides have said, is to render being unvaccinated so burdensome that those who haven't received

shots will have little choice other than to get them. It's an approach being tested by leaders in Europe, including French

President Emmanuel Macron, who required either proof of vaccination or a negative test at public venues. And some states, including

New York, have also said government employees must either prove they've been vaccinated or be tested weekly.





The White House had previously indicated it would support private companies' decisions to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations, but Biden

took it a step further on Thursday, saying that he'd like to see companies, states and schools move in the direction of requiring

Covid-19 vaccination.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said Wednesday on CNN that health passes for the fully vaccinated, such as those used

in parts of Europe, "may very well be a path forward."

But the President appeared to put that responsibility on businesses -- not the federal government -- on Thursday.

"My guess is that if we don't start to make more progress, a lot of businesses and a lot of enterprises are going to require proof

(of vaccination) or you're not going to be able to participate," Biden said.

The prevalence of the highly contagious Delta variant in the US and low vaccine uptake have led to the federal government to take a

number of steps to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Zients told Blitzer that the FDA is certain that Americans don't need boosters right now, but it will continue to monitor the data.

"If they do decide that Americans need boosters, we are ready," he said. "We have the supply, and people will be able to get a

booster shot -- if it's needed -- in a fast and efficient manner."

Earlier this week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended everyone -- including vaccinated individuals --

wear masks indoors in areas of substantial or high Covid-19 transmission. The agency also recommended masks for all K-12 children

in schools, even those who have been vaccinated.

The Department of Veterans Affairs also recently announced it would require frontline health care workers to be vaccinated over the

course of the next two months.

During his remarks on Thursday, Biden acknowledged frustrations over the nation's slow bounce back and the renewal of restrictions.

"We have the right plan. We're coming back. We just have to stay ahead of this virus," Biden said. "I know this is hard to hear. I

know it's frustrating. I know it's exhausting to think that we're still in this fight. And I know that we hoped this would be a

simple, straightforward line without problems or new challenges. But that isn't real life. (We're) coming out of the worst public

health crisis in 100 years. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."



The latest data from the CDC indicates that 49.4% of the total US population is fully vaccinated. And despite a previous downward

slope in the pace of vaccinations, 389,963 people are now initiating vaccination each day, according to the current seven day


This is the highest it's been in more than three weeks, but it's still lower than the pace set by millions who were receiving shots

every day earlier this year.

Covid-19: Biden tells states to offer $100 vaccine incentive as cases rise

The president also issued a strict new vaccine requirement for US federal workers, the nation's largest workforce with some two

million people.

The order requires employees to show proof of vaccination or be subjected to mandatory testing and masking.

Just under half of the US is fully vaccinated, according to official data.

Speaking from the White House on Thursday, Mr Biden said that the new measures are a result of the highly contagious Delta

variant's spread, made worse by a "pandemic of the unvaccinated".


"People are dying and will die who don't have to die," the president said.

Mr Biden added that the monetary incentive may seem unfair to already vaccinated Americans, but "we all benefit if we can get more

people vaccinated".

States would use money from the $1.9tn American Rescue Plan legislation to fund the incentives.

Mr Biden said that the federal government will be "fully reimbursing" small or medium-sized businesses that provide workers paid

time off to get vaccinated.

While government workers who refuse to get vaccinated will not be fired, this move by the White House aims to set an example for

other employers nationwide.

But public heath experts warn that weekly testing is not an effective way of stopping outbreaks.

The Democratic president also addressed theories, spreading mostly in conservative circles, that the jabs are unsafe.

He emphasised there "is nothing political" about the vaccines, which were developed and authorised under a Republican

administration and further distributed under his.


Last month, a study showed that over 99% of Covid-19 deaths have been among the unvaccinated.

Nearly 70% of adults have received at least one jab, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control. But

vaccination rates are varied across the country. Southern and western regions, which are now experiencing Covid outbreaks, have

much lower rates.

It comes as virus-related deaths climb to around 2,000 per week. New cases are now at their highest point in the last three months,

with about 60,000 being recorded per day.




Earlier this week, the CDC revised its mask policy for even fully vaccinated Americans in certain regions due to the Delta variant

surges. Indoor mask use is now recommended for people in areas with higher rates of Covid transmission.

New York, California, and several other states have gone one step further - requiring that masks be worn in public indoor spaces.

Joe Biden Defends New Vaccine Requirement for Federal Workers

Before President Joe Biden took office, he said he didn’t think vaccines should be mandatory. And he said in May that he didn’t

think masks should be required for vaccinated people either.



But with the delta variant of coronavirus continuing to spread, and more than 40 percent of Republicans refusing to get vaccinated,

Biden is now preaching a different message.

On Thursday, Biden announced that vaccines would be mandatory for nearly all federal employees, and he said the Justice Department

was looking into whether the government could mandate vaccines for the whole country. But mostly, Biden spent the majority of his

nearly 30-minute address pleading with the unvaccinated to get their shots.

He highlighted new federal programs that will reimburse some employers who offer paid leave so that workers can get themselves and

their families vaccinated, and he encouraged states to use money allocated from the American Rescue Plan to provide cash incentives

to boost vaccination rates.


“In addition to providing incentives to encourage vaccination, it's time to impose requirements on key groups, to make sure they're

vaccinated,” Biden said.

“Every federal government employee will be asked to attest to their vaccination status,” he continued. “Anyone who does not attest

or is not vaccinated, will be required to mask, no matter where they work, test one or two times a week to see if they have

acquired COVID, socially distance, and generally will not be allowed to travel for work.”

Biden added the administration was “taking steps” to apply the same standards to federal contractors.

But while the mandate could provide a blueprint for local governments and private businesses to implement their own vaccination

requirements, there are major obstacles standing between the president’s directive and universal vaccination for government



“Biden is now signaling to them that it’s lawful, and it’s effective, and that could be a game changer,” said Lawrence Gostin,

director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. “The public are dazed and confused.

I would be shocked if we saw a major change in behavior at the population level, and that’s why we need a mandate.”

The president stressed the need to re-implement mask mandates to stop the spread of the delta variant of COVID, and he again urged

the depoliticization of the vaccine process. In typical Biden fashion, he also thanked prominent Republicans who have actively

worked to convince their constituents to get the shot.

“From the start, I have to compliment Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, he hasn’t made it political, he's

encouraged people to get vaccinated and is continuing to do so in the states in pretty good shape,” Biden said, also praising

Alabama Republican Gov.Kay Ivey, who recently encouraged vaccines.

“Look,” Biden added, “this is not about red states and blue states; it's literally about life and death.”

States and cities around the country have implemented similar requirements in recent days, as did the Department of Veterans

Affairs, which has ordered all 115,000 frontline health care workers to get vaccinated within the next two months.

Obstacles both bureaucratic and political, however, mean that Biden’s vaccine mandate is not yet as comprehensive as public health

experts might hope—most notably in regards to the Department of Defense.


With nearly 1.4 million people in active duty service, and another 732,000 civilian personnel, the Pentagon is the nation’s single

largest employer. But due to Department of Defense rules requiring that servicemembers give their “informed consent” to medical

treatment, Biden’s vaccine mandate won’t apply to active duty personnel until the Food and Drug Administration officially approves

the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use.

Troops are currently required to be vaccinated against more than a dozen illnesses, from chickenpox to rabies, depending on the

location and duration of their employment, and while Biden could issue a waiver for the FDA approval requirement, he has publicly

stated that he wants to put that decision in the hands of Pentagon leaders.

I don’t know—I’m going to leave that to the military,” Biden told NBC News in April, calling the matter a “tough call” that he was

not yet prepared to make. “I’m not saying I won’t. I think you’re going to see more and more of them getting it.”




Asked about the same issue on Thursday, Biden gave a similar answer, explaining that he remained committed to not pressuring the

FDA for approval. But Biden said he and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were considering the idea of mandating the vaccine before

the approval process was complete.

“He's open to it,” Biden said of Austin. “And the question is when is the right time to get the most bang for the buck when you do

it. A lot of this is timing.”

Dr. Timothy Brewer, a professor of epidemiology at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health and of Medicine, called the lag on a

mandate for active duty military “silly.”


“That’s crazy—that’s absolutely crazy,” Brewer said. “In the military, you’re close together, you’re in tight groups, you’re

spending lots of time together. Every single person that’s military should be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.

A fact sheet released before the president’s remarks noted that Biden has ordered the Department of Defense to “look into how and

when they will add COVID-19 vaccination to the list of required vaccinations for members of the military.” But the fact sheet

outlines no timeline or process for doing so.

Although the military’s vaccination rate has actually outpaced that of the general population, some service members have reportedly

expressed hesitation to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who has introduced legislation that would

forbid the government from compelling members of the military to get vaccinated.

Massie’s bill, which has 28 cosponsors, is unlikely to become law, but it indicates the broader political problem facing Biden’s

vaccine mandate push. While the lag time for military vaccinations could be resolved by the end of the summer—Army Times reported