In the early days of the administration, the White House stressed the importance of providing adequate infrastructure for mass vaccination. But now that vaccination rates have stalled, President Biden is advocating a more forceful approach.
In an address yesterday, Biden advocated that the private sector enact vaccine mandates and urged healthcare workers to recommend shots for the unvaccinated.
The Labor Department will require private-sector businesses with more than 100 employees to enact vaccine mandates or face weekly testing.
The U.S. government has also required vaccination for members of the armed forces, federal contractors and the majority of federal employees.
CMS will also require vaccination of healthcare workers whose employers receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement.
Biden’s plan also calls on entertainment venues to require attendees to show proof of vaccination or results from a recent negative COVID-19 test for entry.
“The announcement by President Biden is a real game changer for many employers,” said Steve Bell, a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney. Bell predicted that the news will lead to an exponential increase in employers enacting vaccine mandates. The U.S. government is the largest employer in the country. The vaccine mandate for federal employees will “give comfort to private employers who have been hesitant to require vaccines,” Bell said. “It may also set the standard for what a reasonable employer should be doing in the face of this continuing epidemic.”
in its labor and employment practice. He’s been advising employers on how to handle vaccine issues/mandates with workers and says the E.O. today will be a game changer,
To enact the mandates, the federal government will rely on a variety of executive orders and federal rules.
A number of GOP governors, including Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Gov. Mark Gordon of Wyoming, have said they would fight the vaccine requirements. The Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, has also vowed to fight the policies.
Some 80 million eligible Americans have not been vaccinated.
According to CDC, unvaccinated individuals are five times more likely to get infected with the novel coronavirus and more than ten times more likely to be hospitalized or die from it.
A considerable number of people remain vaccine-hesitant, including within healthcare.
A survey of approximately 2,000 caregivers found that one in three respondents refuses to get vaccinated. More than one-third, 35%, doubt that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, while 14% of vaccine-hesitant caregivers believe the pandemic is a hoax. Some 80% of those who are vaccine-hesitant will accept furlough or termination instead of obtaining vaccination.
Several pharmaceutical companies have enacted vaccine mandates.
The Biden Administration also continues to plan for COVID-19 boosters becoming available in the coming weeks, pending FDA authorization or approval.