In his pandemics and loudest words, President Joe Biden ordered on Thursday new comprehensive federal vaccine requirements for up to 100 million Americans (private-sector employees, health workers, and federal employee contractors) in a comprehensive effort to contain the emerging delta variant of COVID-19.
At the White House, Biden criticized the tens of millions of Americans who have not yet been vaccinated despite months of availability and incentives. “We have been patient. But our patience is slimming, and your refusal has cost us all,” he said, practically biting his words.
The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of harm, and they are.” Republican leaders — and some union leaders too — said Biden went too far to empower private businesses and workers, a sign of future legal challenges.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said in a statement that “Biden and radical Democrats blew their noses before the constitution,” while the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, Everett Kelley, insisted that “they negotiated changes like this with our negotiating units, for the other, there was strong praise for Biden’s efforts to have the nation vaccinated the nation by the American Medical Association, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable, although its mandate for private companies was not directly mentioned.
Expansive rules dictate that all employers with more than 100 employees require vaccinations or tests for the virus every week, affecting approximately 80 million Americans.
And the approximately 17 million health workers who receive federal Medicare or Medicaid need to be fully vaccinated as well. Biden also requires vaccines for executive employees and contractors doing business with the federal government, without the possibility of testing.
This covers several million more employees. Biden announced the new requirements in a speech at the White House Thursday afternoon as part of a new “action plan” to combat the recent rise in coronavirus cases and the stagnant pace of COVID-19 recording.
Just two months ago, Biden prematurely declared the nation’s “independence” from the virus. Although more than 208 million Americans receive at least one dose of vaccines, the United States now has about 300% more new COVID-19 infections, about two and a half times more hospitalizations, and almost twice as many deaths compared to the same time last year. About 80 million people are still unvaccinated.