President Joe Biden stepped up his administration's COVID-19 vaccination drive on Thursday, announcing two new initiatives targeted at getting employees vaccinated as part of a six-point strategy to fight the pandemic.
Mandatory Vaccination to Private Sector and Federal Employees
In a recently published article in USA Today, Biden introduced a new Labor Department regulation that would mandate that all companies with 100 or more workers be vaccinated or tested at least once a week. If businesses fail to comply with the recent move, they will be fined up to $14,000 for every violation.
Furthermore, the President issued an executive order mandating most government employees and contractors to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, strengthening a prior policy established in July that required vaccines but allowed for alternative choices.
Moreover, those same businesses will be required by the government to provide paid time off for workers to be vaccinated. Employers will be subject to the new regulation as part of a slew of new tough measures taken by the Biden administration to fight the worldwide pandemic, according to a published article in The Hill.
New Strategy Dubbed as "Path Out of the Pandemic" Aims To Redouble the Efforts of the Government
The administration's efforts to fight the danger of the delta variant of COVID-19 have been redoubled under the new national plan, entitled "Path Out of the Pandemic." The administration has stumbled through a summer characterized by increasing illnesses and Republican governors' strong opposition to public health initiatives.
Biden's address comes as he is under pressure to do more to combat the pandemic. The delta variant has fuelled a fresh surge, with around 150,000 new cases and over 1,000 fatalities each day, after decreasing earlier this summer, according to a published report in The New York Times.
Biden is also significantly increasing the number of vaccinations required of healthcare employees. Last month, the government announced that all staff at approximately 15,000 nursing facilities will be required to be vaccinated in order to receive Medicare and Medicaid money, affecting nearly 1.3 million people. The regulation will be published later this month.
Significant Information in the New Plan
Workers in most other healthcare facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid payment, including large hospitals, will be required to get vaccinated under the new proposal. The regulations would impact 50,000 providers and about 17 million employees, but authorities did not know when they would go into force.
According to a senior administration official, government workers would have 75 days to get completely vaccinated under a new executive order to be issued by the president, with limited exceptions for religious or medical reasons. There will be no option for testing. The order will affect about 100 million people.
In a published article in The Wall Street Journal, all teachers and employees at Head Start and Early Head Start programs, as well as schools and youth programs run by the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Indian Education, will be required to get vaccines.
Furthermore, President Biden will also encourage states to vaccinate all teachers and school personnel, as well as schools to do COVID-19 testing on a regular basis, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.