U.S. President Biden Mandates COVID-19 Vaccines For Federal Workers

U.S. President Joe Biden is mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for federal employees, contractors, and healthcare workers.

America is reporting an average of 151,500 new cases of COVID-19 per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, hovering around levels seen in late January. An average of 1,500 people are dying from COVID-19 each day in the U.S.

About 80 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated, according to Biden. The U.S. missed Biden’s Fourth of July goal to inoculate 70% of all adults by almost a month, and since then, has administered one dose or more to just 75.3% of Americans 18 and older.

In a speech addressing the nation, the president laid out a six-part plan intended to get more people vaccinated, allow schools to reopen safely, increase testing, improve care for patients and boost the economic recovery. Biden said he was running out of patience waiting for unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.

As part of the plan, the president announced a new requirement for federal employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine, with no option for regular testing. He also signed an executive order extending the requirement to contractors that work with the U.S. government, impacting a total of 2.1 million employees.

Biden had previously ordered all federal employees to prove their vaccination status or submit to a series of rigorous safety protocols. The president also said he is asking the U.S. Department of Labor to issue a rule that requires employers with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or require weekly testing, according to officials.

Large U.S. corporations have increasingly mandated vaccines or announced penalties for workers who aren’t inoculated since COVID-19 cases surged this summer. Employees at healthcare facilities that get Medicare and Medicaid funding will similarly have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Overall, the new vaccination requirements will cover about 100 million employees, affecting two-thirds of U.S. workers, Biden said.