President Joe Biden announced in a brief address on Thursday that his vaccine mandate for employers with more than 100 workers will go into effect soon.
The mandate requires employers that meet the requirements to ensure that their employees are vaccinated against Covid-19 or get tested regularly.
“The Labor Department is soon going to be issuing an emergency rule for companies with 100 or more employees to implement vaccination requirements among their employees,” Biden said in his address.
“Every day, you see more businesses implement vaccine requirements and the mounting data shows that they work.”
The mandate, which will impact roughly 80 million American employees, has been highly controversial, inspiring threats of lawsuits from Republican attorneys general and causing some people to leave their jobs completely.
Biden first announced the mandate early last month.
“The plan I laid out in September is working. We’re heading in the right direction. We have critical work to do but we can’t let up now,” Biden said.
“I’m calling on more businesses to step up, I’m calling on more parents to get their children vaccinated when they are eligible. And I’m asking everyone, everyone who hasn’t gotten vaccinated: get vaccinated. That’s how we put this pandemic behind us and accelerate our economic recovery.”
Biden pointed to recent COVID-19 data showing that cases had dropped by 47% and hospitalizations by 38% since mandates have been introduced.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is preparing a draft on the new emergency rule in accordance with Biden’s announcement. Biden maintained that the struggle that the United States continues to face in the pandemic is one of convincing the unvaccinated to get their shot:
“We have to do more to vaccinate the 66 million unvaccinated people in America, it’s essential. Vaccine requirements that we started rolling out in the summer are working,” Biden said.
“Vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us.”
Biden encourages booster shots as FDA and CDC work to approve Johnson & Johnson’s and Moderna’s
The President also encouraged those eligible to receive a booster shot in his address.
While Pfizer/BioNTech booster shot has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the administration is currently reviewing the johnson & Johnson and Moderna boosters so that the third shot can become more widely available. The FDA hopes to release its final decision in the next month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also hoping to make their own decision within that window.
And while some adults and seniors prepare for their booster shots, the President believes that the vaccine may be ready for young children. The FDA and CDC are still in the process of approving the vaccine for kids aged 5 to 11, and hope to have a final decision in the next month.