President Joe Biden is reportedly mandating all federal employees and contractors receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
Biden is expected to announce the new step in a speech on Thursday outlining a new, harder-line approach his administration is taking to COVID-19. The president is also expected to push businesses that have not already mandated vaccines for their employees to do so. As CNN reports:
Among the steps that the President will take is signing an executive order requiring all federal workers to be vaccinated, with no option of being regularly tested to opt out of the requirement, according to a source familiar with the plans.
The President will also sign an executive order directing that same standard be extended to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government. The Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Indian Health Service and National Institute of Health will also complete their previously announced vaccination requirements, which the White House estimates covers 2.5 million people.
Biden’s announcement is a significant step further than the action he took earlier this year that gave employees the option of submitting themselves to regular COVID tests in lieu of a vaccine. While some Democratic officials in states and cities have embraced heavy-handed vaccine measures, Republicans have largely fought against such measures since the widespread distribution of vaccines.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave a preview of what to expect in Biden’s new approach to COVID-19 in a press briefing on Wednesday. When asked about how Biden’s new plan would impact Americans, Psaki responded, “It depends on if you’re vaccinated or not.”
“There are — there are six new — there are six steps the President is announcing. There will be new components, as I noted and you noted. Some of that will be related to access to testing. Some will be related to mandates. Some will be related to how we ensure kids are protected in schools,” Psaki continued. “And we’ll have more — we’ll preview more tomorrow as all the pieces are finalized. But there will be new components that, sure, will of course impact people across the country. But we’re also all working together to get the virus under control, to return to our normal lives. And I know many people, I’m sure, are looking forward to hearing what the President has to say.”
Some parts of the federal government have already instituted or announced vaccine mandates for their employees. The U.S. military announced last month that all U.S. servicemen are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. As The Daily Wire reported:
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a memorandum on Monday informing all Department of Defense employees of an upcoming mandate to get immunized against coronavirus.
The Associated Press reported, “Members of the U.S. military will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine beginning next month under a plan laid out by the Pentagon Monday and endorsed by President Joe Biden.” According to the outlet, “Austin said the mid-September deadline could be accelerated if the vaccine receives final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise.”
“I have every confidence that Service leadership and your commanders will implement this new vaccination program with professionalism, skill, and compassion,” Austin wrote. “To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force.”