President Joe Biden Declares Complete New Immunization Mandates for 100 Million Individuals – CBS Pittsburgh

WASHINGTON (AP / KDKA) – In his most vigorous pandemic actions and words, President Joe Biden on Thursday announced sweeping new federal vaccination regulations affecting up to 100 million Americans to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and stem the surge in Delta -Variant.

In the White House, Biden sharply criticized the 80 million or so Americans who, despite months of availability and incentives, have not yet been vaccinated.

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“We were patient. But our patience is failing and your refusal has cost us all, ”he said, almost biting off his words. The unvaccinated minority “can do a lot of harm, and that’s what they are”.

The far-reaching rules dictate that all employers with more than 100 workers require a vaccination or test for the virus weekly, which affects around 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million health care workers who receive federal Medicare or Medicaid must also be fully vaccinated.

Some local employers have already made such requirements, including Duolingo, which KDKA told that all employees and visitors who come to their offices must provide proof of vaccination.

Duquesne University also requires vaccines or tests for all employees. Dr. David Dausey, Executive Vice President and Provost of Duquesne, believes the mandate will help suppress the surge in the Delta variant.

“These are some of the safest and most effective vaccines ever developed,” said Dr. Dausey. “And at that time it was administered to hundreds of millions of people. And the data speak for themselves. “

Biden also signs an executive order mandating vaccination for executive staff and contractors doing business with the federal government – with no testing facility. That covers several million other employees.

Biden announced the new requirements in a White House address Thursday afternoon as part of a new “plan of action” to address the recent surge in coronavirus cases and the stagnant pace of COVID-19 gunfire, which has raised public doubts about his dealings have awakened the pandemic.

Governor Tom Wolf applauded the announcement.

“I strongly support federal efforts to make vaccinations a priority, which further supports my government’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 – efforts that are working,” he said in part in a statement.

Just two months ago, Biden prematurely declared the nation’s “independence” from the virus. Although more than 208 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccines, the US is seeing about 300% more new COVID-19 infections every day, about two and a half times more hospitalizations, and almost twice as many deaths compared to the same point last year.

“We are in a difficult phase and it could take a while,” Biden said of the current state of the pandemic.

After months of using promotions to boost vaccination rates, Biden is taking a much firmer hand as his staff blame people who have not yet received vaccinations for the surge in cases that kill more than 1,000 people a day and a fragile economy will rebound.

In addition to vaccination requirements, Biden has doubled federal penalties for air passengers who refuse to wear masks on flights or comply with face-covering requirements on federal property, as per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Biden announced that the federal government will work to increase the availability of virus tests and that the White House has received concessions from retailers like Walmart, Amazon and Kroger to start selling home test kits at cost starting this week.

The administration also sent additional federal funding to help schools operate safely, including additional funding for testing. And Biden will require major entertainment venues and arenas to require vaccinations or proof of a negative entrance test.

The requirement for large corporations to mandate vaccinations or weekly tests for employees will be enacted by an upcoming rule by the labor protection agency that will impose fines of $ 14,000 per violation, an administrative official said. The White House didn’t immediately say when it would go into effect, but said workers would have ample time to get vaccinated.

The rule would also require large companies to provide paid immunization waivers.

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In the meantime, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will extend a mandatory vaccination requirement – for nursing home staff – from earlier this summer to other healthcare facilities such as hospitals, home health authorities, and dialysis centers.

Separately, the Department of Health and Human Services will require vaccinations in head-start programs, as well as in schools at the Department of Defense and India’s Department of Education, affecting approximately 300,000 employees.

Biden’s order for executive employees and contractors includes exemptions for workers seeking a religious or medical exemption from vaccination, according to Psaki. Federal employees and contractors have 75 days to get fully vaccinated. Workers who fail to comply will be referred to their agencies’ human resources departments for advice and discipline, including possible dismissal.

“We want to be a role model for other organizations and companies across the country,” said Psaki of the federal workforce.

An AP-NORC poll conducted in August found that 55% of Americans are in favor of full vaccination for government employees, compared with 21% against. Similar majorities also supported vaccine mandates for health workers, teachers who work in K-12 schools, and workers who interact with the public such as in restaurants and shops.

Biden has promoted COVID-19 vaccine requirements in settings such as schools, workplaces, and campus, and the White House hopes the strengthened federal mandate will inspire more companies to follow suit. The Los Angeles Department of Education was due to vote on Thursday that all students 12 and older in the second largest school district in the country must be fully vaccinated.

Walmart, the country’s largest private employer, demanded in late July that all workers at its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters, as well as its managers traveling within the U.S., be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 4, before they stopped shooting to demand for his front workers.

CVS Health said in late August that certain staff who interact with patients must be fully vaccinated by the end of October. This includes nurses, care managers, and pharmacists.

In the government, several federal agencies previously announced vaccine requirements for much of their workforce, especially those in health professions like the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Pentagon decided last month to vaccinate all service members. Taken together, the White House estimates that these requirements cover 2.5 million Americans. Thursday’s order is expected to impact nearly 2 million more federal employees and potentially millions of contractors.

Biden’s actions should help, but what is really needed is a rethink for many people, said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Vice Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

“That now has an aspect that has to do with the fact that our country is so divided,” said Sharfstein. “This is so politicized that people cannot see the value of a vaccination that can save their lives. Our own divisions prevent us from ending a pandemic. “

The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union of federal employees, said that while it strongly encourages vaccinations, workers should have their say on new mandates that affect them.

“Simply put, workers deserve a voice on their working conditions,” said National President Everett Kelley. “We expect this change to be negotiated before implementation and we encourage anyone who is able to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, called the mandate for federal employees “poorly thought out” and said, “Vaccination should be promoted through education and encouragement – not coercion.”

More than 177 million Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, but confirmed cases have risen to an average of about 140,000 per day with an average of about 1,000 deaths in recent weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most of the spread – and the vast majority of serious illnesses and deaths – occurs in people who are not yet fully vaccinated. Breakthrough infections occur in vaccinated people, but are usually far less dangerous.

Federal officials are moving forward with plans to begin giving booster shots of the mRNA vaccines to strengthen protection against the more transmissible Delta variant. Last month, Biden announced plans to make them available from September 20, but by then only the Pfizer vaccine will likely have received regulatory approval for a third dose.

Officials aim to give the booster dose about eight months after the second dose of the two-dose vaccine.

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