‘Our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal to take the covid vaccine has cost all of us,’ Biden says to those who continue to refuse vaccines.
‘The time for waiting is over,’ says Biden of vaccination.
US President Joe Biden took aim at vaccine resistance in the United States on Thursday, announcing policies requiring most federal employees and more than 17 million health-care workers to receive COVID-19 vaccines, as well as plans to require mandatory vaccination or weekly testing for private businesses with 100 or more employees.
Once fully implemented, the new measures, which Biden announced in remarks from the White House, would cover roughly two-thirds of all U.S. employees.
They are part of a larger, more aggressive effort to get Americans vaccinated in the face of a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the fast-spreading delta variant.
“We’ve been patient,” Biden said to the millions of Americans who have refused coronavirus vaccinations. “However, our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost us all.”
According to senior administration officials, the administration would require vaccinations not only for federal employees and contractors, but also for the more than 17 million health-care workers at hospitals and other institutions that participate in Medicare and Medicaid social programs for the poor, disabled, and elderly.
Taken together, the policies would cover approximately 100 million workers and represent Biden’s most aggressive steps yet to prod Americans who are resistant to getting shots in the face of an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the rapidly spreading delta variant.
“We’re in a rough patch, and it could last for a long time,” Biden said.
Legal repercussions are expected.
The plan is likely to face legal challenges, and Biden’s Republican opponents immediately slammed it. The mandates’ effects may not be felt for months.
Two months after Biden declared that Americans are “closer than ever to declaring our independence” from the coronavirus, many Americans remain skeptical of the shots.
According to CDC data, slightly more than 53% of all Americans are fully vaccinated, including nearly two-thirds of the adult population. More than 654,000 Americans have died as a result of the disease.
Penalties for noncompliance
Unions representing federal employees have indicated that they would accept the vaccine mandate. Unless they fall into one of the few exemption categories, federal employees have 75 days to get vaccinated or face termination.
In the coming weeks, the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will issue a rule requiring private companies to require vaccines or tests.
OSHA intends to take enforcement action against those who failed to comply, with fines of nearly $14,000 US per violation.
The medical work requirement will be implemented through a rule issued by the health agency in October.
The administration also intends to increase testing capacity for the virus and has urged employers to have their employees vaccinated or tested on a weekly basis.
According to officials, Biden will use his authority under the Defense Production Act to encourage industry to accelerate production of the tests, and big retailers such as Walmart, Amazon.com, and Kroger will sell the tests at cost for the next three months to make them more affordable.
The United States is still in a covid pandemic mode.
The country is “still in pandemic mode…,” with 160,000 new infections every day. “That’s not even remotely good control,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, told Axios. “You have to get well below 10,000 before you start feeling at ease.”
The White House intends to offer booster shots to those who are fully vaccinated, rejecting arguments from the World Health Organization and other advocates that, with global vaccine supplies limited, rich countries should postpone booster shots until more people worldwide are immunized.
The White House intends to provide booster shots to those who are fully vaccinated in order to provide additional protection. This contradicts arguments made by the World Health Organization and other advocates that, because global vaccine supplies are limited, rich countries should halt booster programs until more people worldwide are immunized.
Although the federal government cannot mandate vaccines on a national scale, it has encouraged school districts, businesses, and other entities to do so. In addition, Biden’s plan calls for large entertainment venues to require vaccinations or testing for entry.
Despite heated debate in some areas, many school districts have mandated masks, and some have required teachers to be vaccinated or face regular testing.