Biden calls on states to offer $100 cash payments for Covid vaccinations as delta spreads

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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to the Mack-Lehigh Valley Operations Manufacturing Facility in Macungie, Pensylvania, U.S., July 28, 2021.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

President Joe Biden on Thursday will call on state and local officials to offer residents $100 cash payments as an incentive to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, his administration’s latest push to get Americans vaccinated as the highly contagious delta variant spreads.

During a speech Thursday afternoon from the White House, Biden is expected to cite research from the University of California, Los Angeles in which roughly one-third of unvaccinated individuals said a cash payment would make them more likely to get a shot, according to details of the plan released by the administration.

“The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided states, territories, and localities resources that can be used to offer incentives to increase vaccination rates, and today, the President will call on every state, territory, and local government to use this ARP funding to provide $100 to anyone who gets vaccinated,” the administration said in a statement.

The latest vaccine push comes as coronavirus cases in the U.S. begin to spike once again, with the highly contagious delta variant fueling infection rates. People infected with the delta variant carry up to 1,000 times more virus in their nasal passages than other strains, resulting in higher transmissibility, even among the vaccinated, according to federal health officials.

Health officials maintain that the Covid vaccines are highly protective against the variant, especially against severe disease and death. Still, the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. has slowed in recent months.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced officials there will pay $100 to anyone who goes to a city-run vaccination site for their first dose of a vaccine.

Biden’s anticipated comments come two days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course on its prior guidance and recommended fully vaccinated Americans who live in areas with high Covid infection rates resume wearing face masks indoors. The guidelines cover about two-thirds of the U.S. population, according to a CNBC analysis.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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