NEW YORK (Reuters) – On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced measures requiring most government employees to undergo COVID-19 immunizations and requiring major companies to do so weekly.
Biden Has Mandated Massive Covid Vaccinations And Tests
According to Biden, the new rules would affect almost two-thirds of all U.S. employees who work for companies with more than 100 employees.
The policy and speech were Biden’s most aggressive efforts yet to urge Americans to receive immunizations as the rapidly spreading Delta variety causes a new wave of illness and death.
The spike has put the country and a president at risk who campaigned on containing the pandemic. Biden’s recent initiatives are likely to face political and legal scrutiny.
Despite a vigorous drive by the Biden administration to urge Americans to receive the free and widely available immunizations, the CDC reports that just 62% of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated.
On Thursday Biden stated that experts in infectious diseases and health policy say the mandates will not quickly reduce infection rates.
Dr. Jesse Goodman, the former FDA chief scientist, and professor at Georgetown University said the vaccines will help fight future viral epidemics, decreasing fatalities and hospitalizations, and relieving pressure on the healthcare system.
In a televised statement lasting less than 30 minutes, the Democratic president accused a distinct minority of elected leaders of getting people sick by opposing mask and vaccine laws.
It was assumed that the vast majority of eligible Americans would be vaccinated this year. But the topic of vaccinations and masks has become a political issue.
In July, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed a school mask ban. The administration would also demand vaccines for almost 17 million healthcare workers who work in hospitals or other facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Previously, Biden required federal employees to get immunized. Unless exempted, federal employees have 75 days to be vaccinated or face firing.
Federal employees unions said they would support the vaccine demand on Thursday.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the US Department of Labor intends to punish private enterprises that do not comply with the vaccine mandate.
They want entertainment establishments to need testing or shots and states to mandate school employees. It is also increasing the punishment for not wearing a mask on aircraft, trains, and buses.
On testing, critics say the Biden administration hasn’t done enough. Still, the new test demand may strain providers. Officials believe containing the virus’ spread is critical to the US economy’s full recovery.
The disease has killed over 654,000 Americans, and deaths and hospitalizations are rising rapidly as the virus’s Delta strain spreads. The spread of the Delta variety has alarmed investors, disrupted firm return-to-office plans, and slowed hiring.
The White House also aims to offer booster doses to properly vaccinated people. But supplies are limited, and the WHO has urged wealthy nations to suspend booster campaigns until more people are vaccinated globally.
A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll indicated that most fully vaccinated Americans prefer a booster since Delta causes more symptomatic breakout infections. The week of