During a speech giving an update on the country’s vaccination efforts, Biden announced that the country has surpassed his goal of 200 million shots administered in his first 100 days in office.
The president also announced a new tax credit during the speech on Wednesday that will give workers of small businesses paid time off in order to receive Covid-19 vaccinations.
Biden called for companies of all sizes to allow employees paid time off to get a vaccine but the tax credit, which will be funded by the Covid-19 relief bill passed last month, will only be available to businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
The new tax credit system allows for up to $511 a day for each employee but Biden called on all firms, regardless of size, to offer time off and other incentives, such as gift cards or bonuses, to encourage employees to get vaccinated as soon as they can.
Biden said in his speech this week: “Back in December, I set a goal of administrating 100 million shots, vaccine shots in my first 100 days in office. At the time, some told us that couldn’t be done, it was awfully ambitious, but we did it in 58 days because of the incredible staff I have. And so I set a second goal to deliver 200 million shots in my first 100 days in office, a goal unmatched in the world or in prior mass vaccination efforts in American history.”
“When tomorrow’s vaccine and vaccination numbers come out, it will show that today, we did it,” the president continued.
“Today, we hit 200 million shots in the 92nd day in office. 200 million shots in a hundred days, in under a hundred days actually. It’s an incredible achievement for the nation and here’s the context.
“You know, at the pace we were moving when I took office, it would have taken us more than 220 days, almost seven months, seven and a half months to reach 200 million shots. Instead of marking this a milestone in April, we would not have seen it until early September at the earliest. Some experts say that the rapid vaccination effort has already saved tens of thousands of American lives. We’ll never know exactly, but we know it saved lives that would have otherwise been lost.”
Even with the United States this week reaching Biden’s goal of 200 million administered shots, vaccine supply is starting to outweigh demand in some areas of the country. Despite the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of an ongoing safety review, the government has been shipping out more doses of each vaccine than are being used in recent weeks, a senior administration official told ABC News.
Biden revealed that the country is now entering a new phase of its vaccinations efforts as focus is shifted from getting the vaccine to those most vulnerable to the general population.
The administration official claimed that while some are resistant against the vaccine because of safety concerns, others are simply feeling less urgency because they are younger and require a process with fewer obstacles and some encouragement.
“I’m proud of the work my administration has done to get Americans vaccine, but more than that, I’m proud of the American people, the volunteers who showed up to staff vaccination sites in their neighborhoods, drove senior citizens to get their shots, FEMA, the military, the National Guard, state and local health departments and providers running sites safely and efficiently, retired healthcare workers coming back to give life-saving shots to people in their communities.,” Biden continued during his speech.
“This is an American achievement, a powerful demonstration of unity and resolve, what unity will do for us, and a reminder of what we’re going to accomplish when we pull together as one people to a common goal.
“Now that we’ve reached this milestone, we’re entering a new phase of our vaccination effort. As of Monday, at my direction, with the support of 50 governors, Democrats and Republicans alike, everyone over the age of 16 will be eligible to get vaccinated. The first three months of our vaccination program focused on targeting vaccines to specific high-risk groups. Now our objective is to reach everyone, everyone over the age of 16 in America.
“We head into this next phase, it’s important for us to look at where we stand. After three months of targeting vaccinations largely to healthcare workers, frontline workers, and people with high-risk conditions, nursing homes, nursing home residents and seniors, the progress we’ve made has been stunning.
“Let me point out a few achievements. First, as of this past Sunday, more than 50% of adult Americans have had at least one vaccine shot. We still have a long way to go, but that’s an important marker of progress. When it comes to our target groups, the largest groups we focused on in these past 92 days have been seniors, Americans aged 65 and older that account for 80% of all the COVID deaths before we started vaccinating.”