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Biden urges businesses to use paid leave for workers to get COVID-19 vaccine

By
Don Johnson
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Biden announced that the United States will achieve its goal on Thursday of giving 200 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in his first 100 days in office.  Pool Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Biden announced that the United States will achieve its goal on Thursday of giving 200 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in his first 100 days in office.  Pool Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo

April 21 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden called on businesses Wednesday to give workers paid leave so they can get a COVID-19 vaccine.

In a speech from the White House, Biden also announced that the United States had administered 200 million shots by Wednesday -- earlier than his goal. The president had wanted to reach the milestone in his first 100 days in office.

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The recent $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package includes tax credits to reimburse small businesses for giving employees paid leave to get vaccinated or to recover from the COVID-19 virus.

On Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service is expected to post instructions for how businesses can claim the tax credit, worth up to $511 per day of paid sick leave. The reimbursement is available to companies with fewer than 500 workers, a White House statement said. The tax credit will apply to nearly half of all private sector employees in America.

"No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated," Biden said.

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Since Monday, all people 16 and older in the United States are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

"To put it simply, if you've been waiting for your turn, wait no longer," Biden said.

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By Thursday, Biden said 80 percent of seniors over age 65 will have had at least one vaccine shot. The vaccine has reduced deaths of seniors by 80 percent, he said.

But only 43% of working adults have received a shot, according to the White House.

The administration is encouraging businesses to provide information about how people can get vaccinated and why people should get vaccinated. The president said he wants businesses to include discounts for vaccinated individuals, product giveaways or brand rewards, direct outreach to customers, or public service announcements about the importance of vaccinations.

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Biden's administration has created federal vaccination sites nationwide and partnered with pharmacies to accelerate the pace of inoculations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data Wednesday showing that COVID-19 cases are rare in vaccinated people and when they do occur, they are mild with no symptoms or severe illness.

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