The 200 millionth coronavirus vaccine shot was injected in the U.S. on Wednesday — but President Joe Biden wasted no time on celebrations, instead rolling out a new financial incentive for those who have yet to get immunized.
The incentive comes in the form of a tax credit allowing businesses with fewer than 500 employees to fully offset the cost of providing upward of 80 hours, or 10 workdays, of paid time off for employees who need it to get the vaccine, Biden said.
The extensive span in paid time off is meant to give workers time to recover from any vaccination-related side effects without having to worry about missing a paycheck, Biden added.
“One concern I’ve heard from so many Americans is that they can’t afford to take a day off to get vaccinated,” Biden said at the White House. “No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated.”
He added: “We’re calling on every employer, large and small, in every state: Give employees the time off they need with pay to get vaccinated.”
The push for pumping out more vaccine came on the same day as the U.S. reached Biden’s goal of administering 200 million shots within his first 100 days in office.
“It’s an incredible achievement for the nation,” said Biden, who at first anticipated the U.S. would inject 100 million shots within his first 100 days in office, but raised the stakes after that goal was met faster than expected.
Wednesday marked Biden’s 91st day in office.
The 200 million milestone translates to about half of the American population getting at least one shot.
More than a third of all Americans are now fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.