Washington (AP) — President Joe Biden vaccinated millions of federal workers and contractors, lamenting the “American tragedy” of increasing but preventable death among unvaccinated people Announcing a radical new pandemic requirement aimed at increasing rates.
Federal workers must either sign a form certifying that they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus or comply with new regulations regarding mandatory masking, weekly tests, distance, and more. The new rigorous guidelines aim to increase the slump in vaccination rates among the vast number of Americans who collect federal salaries and to set an example for private employers across the country.
“Now, seeing too many people dying or dying loved ones, say’if you get the vaccine,'” Biden said in a dark speech from the White House’s East Room on Thursday. rice field. “This is an American tragedy. People who don’t need to die are dying.”
But pushback is certain to Biden’s actions. It puts him head-on at the center of intense political debate over the government’s ability to force Americans to follow public health guidelines.
The federal government employs about 4 million people directly, but Biden’s actions could have even more implications, taking into account federal contractors. I work for companies that have a government contract or work under federal grants.
Biden, who appears to be fed up with persistent vaccine resistance among many Americans, tells those who haven’t been shot yet, saying, “They get sick and fill our hospital.” I sent a sharp rebuke.
“If you’re not actually vaccinated, you present problems to yourself, your family, and the people you work with,” he said frankly.
At the same time, he expressed sympathy for those who received the shot and said he was “dissatisfied with the results of the unvaccinated minority.” And he again emphasized that the fight against the virus wasn’t over yet, arguing that Americans remained strong in the face of a pandemic retreat.
“I know this is hard to hear. I know it’s frustrating. It’s tiring to think we’re still in this fight. It’s simple, with no problems or new challenges. I know I wanted it to be a straightforward line, but that’s not the case, “he said.
His comment came because about 60% of American adults are fully vaccinated. He set a goal for July 4th and got at least one shot in 70% of adults, but it’s still not enough. The latest figure is 69.3%. And there remains great resistance from many Republicans and some unions to mandatory vaccinations for employers.
Government officials do not require workers to be vaccinated, but encourage unvaccinated people to follow them, reflecting awareness of the political mines surrounding the mission. Emphasize that it aims to make it more difficult. Biden has instructed the team to take steps to apply similar requirements to all federal contractors.
He also instructed the Pentagon to consider adding COVID-19 shots to the list of vaccinations required for military members. Service members already need to get as many as 17 vaccines, depending on where they are based in the world.
The president has repeated many times, with the majority of people sick and dying from the new wave of Delta virus unvaccinated, endangering others and endangering the country’s fragile economic recovery. , Is back to normal.
“It’s an American blessing that we have a vaccine for all Americans. It’s a shame to waste that blessing,” Biden said.
He has recently increased the number of Republicans urging unvaccinated people, many of whom have identified conservatives as polls suggest, to take their shots. Praised. He nodded to his predecessor Donald Trump, calling for opposition to skepticism among some Republicans about the safety of the vaccine, saying it was “developed and licensed under the Republican regime.” Stated.
“This is not about the red and blue states,” he said. “It’s literally about life and death, life and death.”
Biden renewed his call for a full school opening this fall, although children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine. And he said public health officials still don’t believe that Americans need a booster vaccine, even though the highly contagious delta mutants are driving the epidemic.
Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University Law School, said new pressure could be exerted on workers to vaccinate.
“People want to roll up their sleeves and get a jab, rather than undergoing weekly tests and universal masking,” he said. “In many ways, this isn’t really an obligation, it gives workers a choice.”
Thursday’s move isn’t just for federal workers.
The government wants private companies to make workers more difficult to obtain vaccines that are widely recognized as safe and effective, but have not yet received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration. I’m out.
“I think we’ve reached this turning point. Biden’s announcement will provide a lot of air for companies and boards that are difficult to face,” said Chicago-based business writer. Startup recruiter Jeff Biden said. Up company.
Some of the country’s largest companies have moved to demand vaccinations from their workers. Technology giants Facebook and Google announced this week that they need to prove that their employees have been fully vaccinated before returning to work.
Delta and United Airlines require new employees to show proof of vaccination. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley do not need to be vaccinated, but require workers to disclose their vaccination status.
However, based on regular surveys by research firm Gartner, less than 10% of employers say they intend to require all employees to be vaccinated.
Still, there is opposition.
According to the National Academy for State Health Policy, state legislatures across the United States have submitted more than 100 bills aimed at banning employers from requesting vaccination as a condition of employment. At least six states have approved such bills.
Both the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have stated that there is no federal law prohibiting businesses from requiring vaccination as a condition of employment, and federal policy takes precedence. However, the “Medical Freedom” bill highlights the resistance that such guidance may encounter at the state level.
Government actions in New York City and California face resistance from local unions. And before Biden’s announcement, some national unions had spoken against it.
In a statement, Larry Cosme, chairman of the Federal Law Enforcement Association, which represents 30,000 federal police officers and agents, said in a statement that the organization would enforce it while it supported the opposition vaccine. He said he supported it.
“It’s not the American way to force people to get medical treatment, and even if supporters try to justify it, it’s clearly a civil rights infringement,” he said.
Remia reported from New York.
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