President Joe Biden on Thursday is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant that is killing thousands each week and jeopardizing the nation’s economic recovery.
According to the Associated Press, The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.
Biden is also signing an executive order to require vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.
Biden was to announce the new requirements in a Thursday afternoon address from the White House as part of a new “action plan” to address the latest rise in coronavirus cases and the stagnating pace of COVID-19 shots that has raised doubts among the public over his handling of the pandemic.
These are among the new steps to take control of the pandemic that Biden is set to announce Thursday afternoon, a source familiar with the plans told USA TODAY. Some federal health workers, including those who work for the Veterans Department, are already required to get vaccinated.
Members of the U.S. military also need to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But civilian federal employees and contractors have only had to reveal their vaccination status and, if not inoculated, get tested regularly, socially distance, wear masks, and be subject to restrictions on most work travel.