President Biden will mandate that federal workers get vaccinated without the option of regular testing instead when he gives a speech Thursday afternoon outlining six steps his administration will take to combat a rise in coronavirus cases across the country, according to a report.
Biden will sign an executive order stipulating that the requirement also pertains to employees of contractors that do business with the federal government, CNN reported.
Among the steps he will announce are efforts to increase the number of Americans getting vaccinated, to keep schools open and to protect those who have already had their shots as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country, the White House said.
The president will also address testing, mask-wearing, and efforts to prevent COVID from damaging the economy.
“So he’s going to outline the next phase in the fight against the virus and what that looks like, including measures to work with the public and private sector, building on the steps that we’ve already announced — the steps we’ve taken over the last few months: requiring more vaccinations, boosting important testing measures, and more — making it safer for kids to go to school, all at a time when the American people are listening,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Wednesday’s briefing.
“Again, this will be six steps that we’ll work to be implementing over the months ahead,” she added.
Psaki said Biden will reiterate the need for all Americans to get vaccinated.
“We know that increasing vaccinations will stop the spread of the pandemic, will get the pandemic under control, will return people to normal life. That’s what our objective is. So we want to be specific about what we’re trying to achieve,” she said.
The move comes as a Post analysis of Centers for Disease Control data found the vast majority of Americans who are getting serious cases of COVID-19 or dying are unvaccinated.
The CDC said about 99 percent of hospital admissions between Jan. 1 and Aug. 30 were among the unvaccinated.
Only about 53 percent of all Americans are vaccinated, despite the presence of the virus that has killed more than 649,000 Americans.
Biden’s speech comes as students are returning to classrooms across the country amid a hodgepodge of regulations in states that prohibit mask wearing and some that mandate it.
California already requires students and employees to wear masks indoors, and the Los Angeles Board of Education will vote later Thursday on a proposal to require all students 12 and over be fully vaccinated by January to enter campus.
Biden, who has mandated vaccines or routine testing for federal employees and the military, has urged businesses to require the shots after the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s vaccine for use last month.
“I’m calling on more companies in the private sector to step up with vaccine requirements that will reach millions more people,” Biden said.
“If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that — require it. It only makes sense to require a vaccine to stop the spread of Covid-19,” he said.