As COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the United States, President Joe Biden used the full force of his presidential authority to push American workers, both federal and health care workers, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Biden previously announced that all health care workers in nursing homes who treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid are required to be vaccinated. On September 9, he extended this requirement to the more than 17 million health care workers in hospitals, home health care facilities, or other medical facilities.
“If you’re seeking care at a health facility, you should be able to know that the people treating you are vaccinated,” Biden stated.
COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for Federal Workers
A statement issued by Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, outlines mandates for federal workers. She states that all federal workers have 75 days to become fully vaccinated.
“If a federal worker fails to comply, they will go through the standard HR process, which includes counseling, and face disciplinary action — face progressive disciplinary action,” Psaki stated. “Each agency is going to work with employees to make sure they understand the benefits of vaccination and how the vaccines are free, easy, and widely accessible. But it will start to be applied once the executive order is signed.”
“I believe and the scientists indicate, that in the months ahead we can reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans, decrease hospitalizations and deaths, and allow our children to go to school safely and keep our economy strong by keeping businesses open,” stated President Biden.
Large Companies Required to Ensure Employees Are Vaccinated
President Biden announced that the Department of Labor is currently developing an emergency rule that will require all private-sector employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that their workforce is vaccinated, or present a negative COVID-19 test at least once weekly. “No one should lose pay in order to get vaccinated or take a loved one to get vaccinated,” President Biden said.
Biden added that together, these businesses employ over 80 million workers, and some of the biggest companies, United Airlines, Disney, Tysons Food, and even Fox News, already require employees to be vaccinated.
Biden is also pushing teachers to be vaccinated to put parents at ease. “I’m announcing that we’ll require all of nearly 300,000 educators in the federal paid program, Head Start program, must be vaccinated as well to protect your youngest — our youngest — most precious Americans and give parents the comfort,” President Biden noted.
Additionally, Biden states that he wants all governors to require vaccination for all teachers and school staff. “Today, about 90 percent of school staff and teachers are vaccinated. We should get that to 100%. My administration has already acquired teachers at the schools run by the Defense Department … to get vaccinated,” he stated.
President Biden said that a key component to his plan includes increase testing and mask wearing. With Delta variant looming, he aims to make testing available, more affordable, and more convenient.
Also, Biden gave Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) authority to double fines for passengers refusing to wear masks.
1. The White House. Remarks by President Biden on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Accessed September 16, 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/09/09/remarks-by-president-biden-on-fighting-the-covid-19-pandemic-3/
2. The White House. Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, September 9, 2021. Accessed September 16, 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2021/09/09/press-briefing-by-press-secretary-jen-psaki-september-9-2021/
3. The White House. Path out of the pandemic: President Biden’s COVID-19 action plan. https://www.whitehouse.gov/covidplan/