The new initiative sends one of the strongest signals yet that vaccine demand is emerging as a bigger challenge than supply, a shift from months of long waiting lists and limited opportunities for Americans to get vaccinated.
The US will achieve President Joe Biden's target of administering 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines within his first 100 days in office by the end of this week, said the White House on Wednesday. The paid time off effort is aimed at addressing those concerns.
By the time Biden was inaugurated on January 20, the USA had already administered 20 million shots at a rate of about 1 million per day, bringing complaints at the time that Biden's goal was not ambitious enough.
More than 40 percent of the USA population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and many states have recently picked up the pace of getting shots into arms.
Prior to his inauguration, Biden promised that his administration would record 100 million shots of COVID-19 vaccine within his first 100 days in office.
In an early afternoon speech at the White House, Biden plans to call on all companies to provide employees with paid time off to get shots and to rest if they feel unwell afterward.
Announcing a tax break to encourage businesses to give all employees a day off for vaccinations, Biden said the country was still "on track" to being able to celebrate the July 4th Independence Day holiday in relative normality.
According to Bloomberg, the US has administered an average of 3 million doses of the vaccine for the past seven days. More than 86 million people are fully vaccinated, the data show. Businesses of that size employ roughly half of the country's private sector workers.
Biden corrected himself and said, "They may be going to the saloon, I don't know". But with all those 16 and older now eligible for shots, the president is expected to outline his administration's plans to drive up the vaccination rate even further.
"I think it's a very smart move", said Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law.
"Businesses and employers. should be supported for doing the right thing", Biden said.
The achievement comes in slightly ahead of schedule, with Biden marking his 100th day in office at the end of next week. The tax credits were authorized under Democratic-backed COVID-19 pandemic relief legislation passed by Congress and signed by Biden.
The U.S. had administered 199,426,628 as of April 21, according to an NBC News tracker, well on pace with eight days remaining to reach his goal for the first 100 days.
"We have enough of it, you need to be protected, and you need in turn to protect your neighbors and your family".
Over the weekend, Dr. Anthony Fauci - Biden's top medical adviser - said in an interview that he believes that use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be lifted sometime this week.
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