“Today, we did it, today we hit 200 million shots in the 92nd day in office,” Biden said in prepared remarks. “This is an American achievement, a powerful demonstration of unity and revolve — what unity will do for us, and a reminder of what we can accomplish when we pull together, as one people, to a common goal.”
After reaching his initial goal of 100 million shots by Day 58, Biden subsequently doubled the goal. Biden’s total does not include 13 million doses which were administered at the end of the Trump administration.
Biden noted that the achievement marks a new phase of the vaccination effort, one that will be marked by greater supply and less demand. He noted that the U.S. is “not yet” at the tipping point where insufficient demand is the problem, but his administration is already taking steps to address that problem.
Biden highlighted Wednesday an incentive to encourage those who are hesitant to seek out the shot. The president discussed a paid leave tax credit to employers to fully pay for any time off employees need to either get a shot, or recover from any side effects afterwards.
“I’m calling on every employer, large and small, in every state, to give employees the time off they need, with pay, to get vaccinated. Any time they need with pay to recover, if they’re feeling under the weather after the shot. No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated,” Biden said.
On an earlier call with reporters, administration officials highlighted research from the Society of Human Research Management indicating about a quarter employees said they would be more likely to get a shot if their employer offered incentives like a gift card, while one-fifth said they would be more likely to get a shot if they were offered additional paid time off.
The tax credit the administration is offering employers was included in Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan that has already been signed into law.
The credits are meant for businesses with fewer than 500 employees — the Small Business Administration’s definition of a small business — and will reimburse companies up to $500 per day per employee. Many large companies, an administration official said on a call, have informed the White House they are already offering incentives to their employees to get vaccinated, like providing time off.
“Businesses and employers… should be supported for doing the right thing,” Biden said.
Polls consistently show Republican voters are less likely to consider getting vaccinated than Democrats or Independents. White House officials did not directly say their efforts to recruit employers to the cause was designed to appeal to conservatives, although the administration has frequently suggested local leaders are more likely to be effective messengers than federal government officials.
“We do feel confident that if the public sees other people getting vaccinated, including in their workplace, including their employer, people that they know, and hear from local experts, that they will do their homework and make the decision more and more likely to get vaccinated,” an administration official said when asked if the effort was designed to reach skeptical conservatives.
ABC News’s Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.