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Biden Administration Wants States and Cities to Pay People $100 to Get Vaccinated

  • July 30, 2021

The initiative expands on a program that was rolled out in April that offered a paid leave tax credit to offset the cost to companies with fewer than 500 workers incurred by giving paid time to workers getting vaccines.

President Biden on Thursday announced that all civilian federal employees must be vaccinated or be forced to submit to regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel. The president also directed the Defense Department to study how and when to add the coronavirus vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for all members of the military.

The Biden administration has been tussling with some states over how the relief money can be used, but earlier this year issued guidance that made clear it can go toward programs that are expected to increase the number of people who choose to get vaccinated. The Treasury Department said it will provide technical assistance for states and cities to help them use the money to boost vaccinations in their communities and it will be working with the Department of Health and Human Services.

States and cities have been taking creative approaches, such as lotteries, to encourage people to get vaccinated. Some experts, especially in the early days of the vaccination campaign, have expressed concern, though, over the idea of paying people to get vaccinated, worrying that it could be perceived as out of step with messaging that vaccines bring enormous benefits on their own. Opponents of the idea have also questioned whether paying people is the best use of funds to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said this week that the city will begin offering $100 payments as part of an incentive plan to spur more people to get vaccinated. The program is expected to start on Friday.

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