President Joe Biden announced on Thursday new requirements for federal workers and some contractors who do not attest to being fully vaccinated.
"I know that paying people to get vaccinated might sound unfair to folks who have gotten vaccinated already, but here's the deal if incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them," said President Joe Biden during a press conference.
According to a White House press release, the Biden administration will ask that every federal government employee and any onsite contractor be asked to attest to their vaccination status.
"We all want our lives to get back to normal and fully vaccinated workplaces will make that happen more quickly and more successfully. We all know that in our gut with incentives and mandates, we can make a huge difference and save a lot of lives," said President Biden.
If they attest to being fully vaccinated, they will be required to wear masks on the job no matter their geographic location.
He also plans to ask state and local governments to offer unvaccinated people $100 to get their COVID-19 shots, the Associated Press reported.
According to the White House, the Kroger grocery store chain offered $100 and saw vaccination rates jump to 75% from 50% among employees.
Biden said the federal government would reimburse employers who give their employees paid time off to get vaccinated or take a family member to get vaccinated.
During a press conference on Thursday, Biden said the U.S. is now facing "a pandemic of the unvaccinated."
"This is an American tragedy. People are dying and will die, who don't have to die," Biden said. "If you're out there unvaccinated, you don't have to die. This is about life and death. Get the vaccine because it can save your life. Please get vaccinated for yourself. For the people you love. And for your country."
During his speech, Biden added the federal government will reimburse employers who give their employees paid time off to get vaccinated or take a family member to get vaccinated.
"The vaccines are safe. There is nothing political about them," Biden said.
Biden said the total death rate in the U.S. has reached 609,441.
That's more than the people who died in World War I, World War II, 9/11, Iraq, and Afghan war combined, Biden said.
Biden was asked that if a booster shot would be needed, he responded that "as of now, my medical advisors say the answer is no—no American needs a booster now."
He added that if boosters are needed, they "have purchased all the supply we need to be ready."