Biden’s new vaccine mandates for 100 million Americans: What to know – CNET

017-vaccine-race-2021-johnson-johnson-rollout-single-injection-emergency-approval

Federal employees are now required to be fully vaccinated. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

Immediately following President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates announcement on Sept. 9, there were several challenges to the plan, including from congressional Republicans and local and state officials. The new White House policy would mandate vaccines for all federal employees and contractors who do business with the federal government, as well as for health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid facilities. Additionally, the plan directs the Labor Department to require all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested weekly. 

As the pace of COVID-19 vaccination slows down and the delta variant surges in the US, Biden is seeking to put pressure on about 80 million more Americans to get vaccinated. The approach could reach about two-thirds of the US workforce, or up to 100 million people. While stopping short of issuing mandates for all private businesses, the White House is pushing entertainment venues like sports arenas and concert halls to require patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry. It is also multiplying fines for those who fail to wear masks on airplanes, trains and buses.

Moreover, the strategy calls on state officials to make vaccinations mandatory for teachers and school staff. Currently, nine states, in addition to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have vaccination requirements for K-12 educators. 

Here’s what you need to know about who’s required to get COVID-19 vaccines under the new administration plan, as well as the latest on booster shots and vaccines for kids.


Now playing:
Watch this:

COVID-19 boosters and the delta variant: What you need…

7:23

Who would fall under the new federal vaccination mandate?

Announcing “a new plan to require more Americans to be vaccinated to combat those blocking public health” earlier this month, Biden rolled out his administration’s Path out of the Pandemic program, which aims to increase the vaccination rate by requiring shots across public and private sectors. Roughly 80 million Americans who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine have not been vaccinated.

Here’s who would be required to be vaccinated under the plan:

  • Employers with 100 or more employees will be required to have their employees either be fully vaccinated or get tested weekly to come to work. Biden said OSHA, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, would implement the requirements that would affect more than 80 million workers. Businesses are awaiting more details in a formal rule to be issued in coming weeks.
  • Federal workers and employees of contractors that do business with the federal government will be required to be vaccinated.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will require vaccinations in Head Start Programs, as well as schools run by the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Indian Education. 
  • Workers in health care facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, including hospitals and home health agencies, will also have to be fully vaccinated.

The president also called on entertainment venues to require proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter their facilities.

What is the opposition to the mandates? 

In response, Republican governors are threatening to fight the administration’s new policies. The senior Republican on the House of Representatives committee overseeing health policy, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, said Biden “is using fear, control, and mandates.” The Republican National Committee has vowed to sue the Biden administration over the vaccine mandate.

Some companies that fall under the new vaccine mandate are facing challenges and questions about compliance and implementation of the policy, according to The Wall Street Journal. For example, businesses have to figure out who will be responsible for covering the cost of testing unvaccinated employees and whether they can authorize exemptions. 

What companies have employee vaccination mandates? 

Several companies have announced plans for mandatory vaccinations, including airlines, cruise lines, concert halls, health care facilities and restaurants. Some of the requirements may include mask and testing guidelines, and some may only apply to employees traveling internationally, working in the office or having face-to-face interactions with customers. If any of these apply to you, check with your employer for more details. 

Here are some of the companies that have announced vaccination requirements for employees:

  • Amtrak
  • Google
  • Lyft
  • McDonald’s
  • Microsoft
  • NBCUniversal
  • Netflix
  • Salesforce
  • Twitter
  • Tyson Foods
  • Uber
  • United Airlines
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart

What about vaccine mandates for the US military and police? 

In August, the Pentagon said that all 1.3 million active-duty service members will need to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. The directive covers all members of the Armed Forces on active duty or in the Ready Reserve, including the National Guard. The Department of Defense will make Pfizer shots accessible on bases around the world. Service members who have received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines will still be considered fully vaccinated. There are some exemptions, including one for religious reasons, but it isn’t granted frequently

In response to several cities requiring law enforcement officers get vaccinated, police associations have come out openly against vaccine mandates. In Oregon, for example, police and firefighter associations are suing to block a state vaccine requirement. 

What about cities, states and universities with mandates? 

Several states, including California and New York, require state employees to be vaccinated. Additionally, several cities, like New York City and San Francisco. require proof of vaccination for inside dining, gyms and other indoor activities. Starting in October, Los Angeles County will require proof of vaccination to enter indoor bars, nightclubs, breweries and wineries.

Nine states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have vaccination requirements for staff in K-12 schools.

More than 400 colleges and universities are also requiring vaccines for students who plan to take in-person classes. 

img-covid-vaccination-vaccine-austin-cota-6img-covid-vaccination-vaccine-austin-cota-6

Some cities are requiring proof of vaccination to participate in indoor activities. 


Natalie Weinstein/CNET

Are any other vaccines mandated in the US?

Yes. A federal vaccine mandate is not new. In 1977, for example, the federal government began an initiative to vaccinate up to 90% of the nation’s children against seven diseases:

  • diphtheria
  • measles
  • mumps
  • pertussis
  • poliomyelitis
  • rubella
  • tetanus

All 50 states require specified vaccines for students, with exemptions varying from state to state. Most school requirements follow the CDC’s vaccine schedule for children.

Which states are banning vaccination requirements?

At least 20 states, including Arkansas, Florida and Texas, prohibit proof-of-vaccination requirements. That means businesses, schools and local government institutions can’t enforce a vaccine mandate. (The same goes for requiring face masks.) The prohibitions went into effect through either legislation or executive orders. 

Some governors are trying to prevent private employers, as well as the state, from requiring vaccines, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. Some are also trying to prevent the use of vaccine passports, which show proof you’ve been vaccinated against coronavirus.

For more information, here’s what to know about breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated. Also, here’s what we know about the delta plus variant.


Now playing:
Watch this:

Coronavirus delta variant: How to stay safe as the COVID…

18:34

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *