Biden Mandates Widespread COVID-19 Shots aims to combat vaccine resistance in America by introducing regulations mandating most federal employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines and requiring large firms to inoculate or test their staff weekly.
The new guidelines, which Biden detailed in remarks from the White House, would apply to around two-thirds of all American workers, those employed by businesses with more than 100 employees.
“We’ve been patient,” Biden said, referring to the tens of millions of Americans who have opted out of covid shots. “But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.”
Collectively, the measures and speech were Biden’s most aggressive efforts to persuade Americans who are resisting shots to do so as the rapidly expanding Delta strain unleashes a new wave of illness and death.
The spike has heightened the risk to the country and a president who campaigned on vows to bring the pandemic under control. Biden’s approval rating has dipped since he declared in July that the US was “closer than ever to declaring our independence from a lethal virus.”
Biden’s most recent actions are expected to face political and legal scrutiny.
Despite a full-throttled effort by the Biden administration urging Americans to get free and widely available vaccines, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only over 62% of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated.
On Thursday, Biden cautioned that “we are in a difficult period that could linger for some time.”
According to infectious disease and health policy specialists, the mandates are unlikely to impact infection rates soon significantly.
They would, however, benefit in the fight against future virus outbreaks by reducing deaths and hospitalizations and relieving strain on the healthcare system, according to Dr. Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University, a former head scientist at the US Food and Drug Administration.
Biden Mandates Widespread COVID-19 Shots, Republicans Decry Mandates’
In a nearly half-hour-long broadcast address, the Democratic president accused “a distinct minority of elected leaders” of “getting people sick” by opposing mask and vaccine mandates on freedom of choice and economic grounds.
The White House’s COVID-19 recovery strategy is predicated on the vaccination of the great majority of eligible Americans this year. However, the public health issue has been politicized, with a loud minority refusing to comply with mandatory vaccinations and mask use.
In July, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida issued an executive order prohibiting school mask mandates.
According to medical experts, more than 97 percent of COVID-19 hospitalized patients are unvaccinated, and they account for a higher proportion of mortality.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the ranking Republican on the House committee that oversees health policy, stated that Biden is “using fear, control, and mandates.”
The Republican National Committee has announced that it will challenge the Biden administration over the vaccine mandate.
Additionally, under Biden’s plan, the administration will require vaccinations for almost 17 million healthcare professionals who work in hospitals and other institutions that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid social programs for the poor, crippled, and elderly.
Biden previously mandated that federal employees be vaccinated or tested for infectious diseases. Federal employees now have 75 days to be vaccinated or face firing unless they qualify for specific exemptions.
On Thursday, federal employee unions indicated that they would accept the vaccine demand.
Biden Mandates Widespread COVID-19 Shots, Multiplies Fines
The Biden administration intensifies enforcement efforts against firms that violate the vaccine mandate, imposing significant fines of nearly $14,000 per infraction. Additionally, the administration calls on entertainment venues to require tests or shots and states to impose mandates on school staff. It intends to employ the authority granted by the Defense Production Act to compel the industry to hasten test production.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States Department of Labor plans to initiate enforcement action against private enterprises that do not comply with the vaccine mandate.
Similarly, the administration calls on entertainment venues to require tests or shots and states to impose mandates on school staff. Additionally, it increases the fines assessed against people who do not wear masks on flights, trains, or buses.
For the next three months, major stores such as Walmart Inc., Amazon.com Inc., & Kroger. are expected to sell the tests at cost to make them more accessible.
The White House announced plans to expand testing for the COVID19 virus, which has claimed the lives of over 654,000 people in the United States.
The increased demand for tests may place an additional burden on already-scarce providers of medical equipment and supplies. Officials feel that controlling the virus’s spread is critical to the US economy’s full recovery.
As children return to school, the spread of the Delta variant has prompted concerns while also scaring investors, upending firm return-to-office plans, and limiting recruitment.
Further, the White House plans to administer booster shots to those completely vaccinated, offering additional protection.
However, supplies are limited, and the World Health Organization has pleaded with wealthy nations to halt booster campaigns until more people are vaccinated globally.
However, with Delta generating more symptomatic breakout infections in fully immunized individuals, a recent opinion poll indicated that most vaccinated Americans want a booster. Boosters may begin as early as the week of Sept. 20.
“Get vaccinated,” Biden emphasized at the close of his remarks.