The Biden administration said Thursday that it will mandate COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers whose employers receive funds from the federal government and that large businesses require vaccinations or weekly testing for their employees.
The move is part of a six-point initiative that President Biden putting forward to address the pandemic as the delta variant has surged, helping to drive down his approval ratings.
Under the new mandate, which will be administered through Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers with 100 or more employees could be fined up to $14,000 for every violation. It will cover about 80 million private-sector employees.
The plan will “will ensure that we are using every available tool to combat COVID-19 and save even more lives in the months ahead, while also keeping schools open and safe, and protecting our economy from lockdowns and damage,” according to the White House.
The move will likely generate opposition. A recent Gallup poll found that while 52% favored employer vaccine mandates, a still substantial 38% were opposed, with 29% saying they were strongly opposed.
Many unions have voiced opposition to vaccine mandates. Hospital workers with Service Employee International Union 1199 held a rally in July opposing a mandate imposed by New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. Firefighter and police unions from Chicago to Newark are also opposing mandates.
Biden’s plan for the healthcare industry could affect 17 million healthcare workers at hospitals that take Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Biden will also require federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated as well.
In addition, employers will be required to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated and large entertainment venues will have to require patrons to provide proof of vaccination or testing before they can enter.
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Original Author: David Hogberg