WASHINGTON (KSNT) – President Joe Biden announced a new federal vaccine mandate Thursday that will affect millions of Americans in the country’s workforce.
The president started his briefing by blaming vaccine hesitancy on the COVID-19 pandemic’s summer comeback with the Delta variant.
“This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it’s caused by the fact that despite America having an unprecedented and successful vaccination program, despite the fact that for five months free vaccines have been available in 80,000 different locations, we still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shots.”President Joe Biden
He then laid out details on his COVID-19 Action Plan, which includes a vaccine mandate that plays out in six measures to cut down on the large unvaccinated population in the country:
- The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require all employers with 100 or more workers to make sure their entire team is fully vaccinated. If any employee does not get vaccinated, they will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test weekly.
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will require staff at all health facilities who receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding to be fully vaccinated. This includes clinical staff, volunteers and workers not involved in patient care at hospitals, dialysis facilities, home health agencies and more.
- Biden is signing a new executive order that will require all federal employees in the government’s executive branch to be fully vaccinated.
- The president is also signing a new executive order that will require federal contractors to be fully vaccinated.
- The Department of Labor’s OSHA will also require all employers with 100 or more workers to give paid time off for them to get vaccinated.
- The White House will call on sports arenas, concert venues and other facilities that have large mass gatherings to require visitors to show proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test to get in to events.
The president didn’t mince words on why he was moving to require, rather than incentivize, the shots.
“My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: what more is there to wait for?” Biden said. “We’ve made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine is FDA approved. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and the refusal has cost all of us … But just don’t take it from me, listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breath, saying ‘if only I had got vaccinated.'”
The new rules will affect nearly a third of the country’s population and two-thirds of all workers, according to the president. With around 80 million Americans employed by private, large companies, and another 17 million the White House claims are in federally-funded healthcare facilities, the group facing mandatory vaccination or testing requirements adds up to around 97 million.
The president’s vaccine rules are just one part of the COVID-19 Action Plan, with other portions labeled on the White House website as “Keeping Schools Safely Open,” “Increasing Testing & Requiring Masking,” “Protecting Our Economic Recovery” and “Improving Care for those with COVID-19.” A noteworthy excerpt from masking requirements came as the president added that the Transportation Security Administration will double fines on airline travelers that refuse to mask.
“Show some respect,” Biden said. “The anger you see on television toward flight attendants and others doing their job is wrong. It’s ugly.”
To read more about the other portions of the president’s COVID-19 Action Plan, click here to view it on the White House website.