White House

Biden Announces Plan to Require Large Companies to Mandate COVID Vaccines

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the coronavirus disease response and vaccination program during a speech in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., August 18, 2021. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

President Biden announced that his administration would develop rules to compel large companies to mandate coronavirus vaccines for employees and to require weekly negative test results for any unvaccinated workers.

The rules will be developed by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and apply to companies with 100 or more workers.

“We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers,” Biden said in a speech at the White House.

The plan is part of a larger initiative by the Biden administration that includes requiring vaccinations for all federal employees and workers for federal contractors, as well as for health care workers in most institutions that receive Medicare or Medicaid. The administration also called on all states to mandate vaccinations for teachers and other school employees.

During a press briefing earlier on Thursday, a reporter asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki how “bold” the president is willing to be “as far as the private sector is concerned in the vaccine mandate area.”

“Even if they don’t have federal contracts can the Department of Labor or anybody else compel major employers, large employers to enforce vaccine mandates on their employees?” the reporter inquired.

Yes, stay tuned,” Psaki responded. 

The requirement could be enforced with a $14,000 fine per violation and would affect two-thirds of the nation’s workforce, according to a report by NBC News.

The president is also set to issue a new executive order that will change an earlier policy that allowed employees to submit to frequent testing and other strict protocols to avoid having to receive the shots.

In yet another top-down measure, health care facilities must require their staff to be vaccinated as a condition of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Such a requirement would apply to 17 million workers at 50,000 health care providers.

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