With COVID-19 transmission continuing to accelerate, President Biden called for state and local governments to offer financial incentives for vaccination.
Speaking at a White House briefing dedicated to the novel coronavirus, Biden offered to draw such funding from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
“People are dying and will die who don’t have to die,” he said in the announcement. “If you’re out there unvaccinated, you don’t have to die.”
Biden also said the government would reimburse small- and medium-size businesses that support vaccinating their employees.
He has also called for federal employees to be fully vaccinated or face regular testing and masking restrictions indoors.
Biden acknowledged that the plan might seem unfair for people who are already fully vaccinated but said the initiative could help beat back the spread of the virus.
Just under half of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Vaccination rates have slowed in recent months and remain relatively low in large swaths of the question.
The CDC projects that the number of COVID-19 deaths and cases could roughly double. At present, COVID-19 is claiming the lives of about 1,800 people each day. Four weeks from now, that number could exceed 3,600. Similarly, the CDC projects the number of daily COVID-19 infections to grow from 360,000 to 609,000.
Biden also highlighted the importance of vaccination to fight the Delta variant in a similar announcement in early July.