After President Joe Biden issued executive orders last week requiring employees of the federal government's executive branch and contractors of the federal government get vaccinated against COVID-19, a note published Monday by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force gave a deadline for most federal employees: Nov. 22. More guidance for government contractors will be provided by a White House task force by Sept. 24, Reuters reported, hopefully clearing up which companies are affected by the mandate.
In addition to the mandate for federal employees, Biden also expanded vaccine requirements for health care workers from nursing home employees who treat patients on Medicare or Medicaid to all health care workers who work in facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding -- which affects about 17 million employees, according to the White House. Addressing federal employees in schools, he announced at a briefing that staff in the Head Start or Early Head Start programs will also need to get vaccinated.
Additionally, employers of a business with 100 or more employees must require COVID-19 vaccines for workers or weekly negative tests. The vaccine requirements for federal workers announced Thursday doesn't give employees the option of regular COVID-19 testing instead of vaccination, broadening the federal government's previous regulations for government employees announced that Biden announced in July.
Biden's strengthened vaccine plan applies to about 100 million US workers, or about two-thirds of American workers, he said. The vaccine mandates and executive orders are part of the administration's "six-pronged" strategy to combat this surge of COVID-19 cases fueled by the contagious delta variant.
"This is not about freedom or personal choice," Biden said. "It's about protecting yourself and those around you."
As of Sept. 8, 75.2% of US adults have received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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