President Joe Biden has announced his most dramatic vaccine mandate yet on Thursday, introducing a new federal vaccine requirement that will force up to 100 million workers across the United States to be inoculated against COVID-19.
In a speech given from the White House, the president admonished the 80 million Americans who had chosen not to get the vaccine:
“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said, adding that this unvaccinated population “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”
Biden’s new rule will mandate all employers with over 100 workers require thees employees to be vaccinated or be tested for the virus weekly. This will directly affect roughly 80 million workers across the country. The rule also requires that the 17 million people who work at health facilities and get federal Medicare or Medicaid be fully vaccinated.
The president will also be signing an executive order that mandates vaccination for all employees of the executive branch as well as contractors who work with the federal government. This law will have no weekly testing option and affects over a million workers.
Biden’s new vaccine mandate part of “action plan” to curb delta variant
This new mandate is part of Biden’s ongoing effort to curb the spread of the delta variant and return the U.S. to normalcy. Biden had previously instilled vaccine mandates in various sectors of the government, but these new efforts are his most forceful yet, and part of what he is calling his “action plan.”
This announcement is preceded by the introduction of a vaccine mandate in the U.S. military. In a memo sent out to military personnel earlier this month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he “will seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon [licensure by the Food and Drug Administration], which ever comes first.”
Austin noted that if cases continue to surge that he “will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the President if I feel the need to do so. To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force.”
Many US schools and universities have also already stated that vaccinations will be mandatory for all returning students – and even that masking will be required for those who are vaccinated.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine received full FDA approval a little over two weeks ago. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general of the United States, told interviewers form CNN on Sunday that he thought this approval would have a real impact on millions of Americans who remain wary of the vaccine.
“This may tip them over toward getting vaccinated,” he stated, before adding that he expected corporations, state leaders and schools to impose mandates when the vaccines cleared the final hurdle. “We already know that there are many businesses and universities that have moved toward vaccine requirements,” he said, even before the inoculations were granted final approval.