NORFOLK, Va. - As concern for the Delta variant grows, the White House is pushing state or local governments to offer $100 payments to unvaccinated people to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Will Virginia soon offer something like that?
"Governor Northam is always considering a variety of options to ensure vaccinations among Virginians, and will review this request from the White House," a spokesperson for the governor replied. "We all agree that vaccines are the only way to end this pandemic, period."
On Friday, the Virginia Department of Health reported more than 1,100 new cases of COVID-19. Since the start of July, data shows 98% of new cases are among unvaccinated people.
Right now, businesses and governments are having discussions about mandating vaccines. Vaccines are required at several local universities, including Norfolk State, Christopher Newport and William & Mary.
LeadingAge Virginia, a non-profit representing aging services companies, believes vaccines should be mandatory for staff at long-term care facilities.
"I think we know that vaccines are the best protection we have against this virus, so it should be imperative that all of our healthcare workers are vaccinated," said Melissa Andrews, the president and CEO of LeadingAge Virginia.
Any decisions on that would be up to the companies themselves.
"I think that it should become a condition of employment for all providers of long-term care and in all healthcare settings, quite frankly," said Andrews.
The Dept. of Justice said there's no federal law preventing companies from requiring vaccination, despite the vaccines only currently having emergency use authorization and not full approval from the FDA.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is encouraging private businesses to mandate vaccinations.
"I applaud that. We are at a crossroads in the pandemic and we need the private sector to help us increase vaccine rates," Cooper said during a briefing on Thursday.
President Biden says federal employees will be required to show proof of vaccination or face repeated testing. He also suggested incentivizing vaccines with money from the American Rescue Plan.
"If incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them," Biden said Thursday.
With cases on the rise, health professionals are hoping unvaccinated people will elect to get a shot.
"We need a giant push to help those who have not yet been vaccinated understand that it's the best defense against this infection," said Andrews.