Biden Seeks to Revive Vaccine Effort With New Guidelines and Incentives
WASHINGTON – President Biden tried Thursday to revive the nation’s deadlocked attempt to vaccinate Americans against the emerging Delta variant of the coronavirus, announcing new vaccination requirements for federal employees and urging local and state governments to be ready for everyone To get a vaccination is to volunteer $ 100.
He also ordered that the Department of Defense should work swiftly to require coronavirus vaccines for all members of the military from more than 600,000 Americans.
The announcement was the first time he has proposed receiving an active military service mandate before any of the three federally approved vaccines receive full Food and Drug Administration approval.
In a speech from the East Room of the White House, Mr Biden effectively admitted that the worst viral scourge of a century, which he once believed was under control, has returned and threatened public health and economic recovery, that of The promise of his presidency is of central importance.
But after months of trying to convince and flatter, the president called Thursday’s crisis a one where the vaccinated against the unvaccinated and said those who refuse to get a coronavirus shot should Expect inconvenience as long as they refuse a vaccine that protects them and others from disease and death.
“This is an unvaccinated pandemic,” said Mr Biden, calling it an “American tragedy,” and speaking directly to the 90 million Americans who are eligible for a vaccine but haven’t received one. “People die and will die who don’t have to die. If you’re out there unvaccinated, you don’t have to die. Read the news. “
Mr Biden said federal employees who remained unvaccinated would have to undergo tests up to twice a week would be banned from travel and required to wear masks and remain socially aloof – essentially a two-tier system for the government more than two Millions of civilian employees and hundreds of thousands of private contractors working in federal institutions around the world.
The move stopped shortly before a vaccination mandate for federal employees. However, the president said he hoped that by imposing new demands on daily working life, more unvaccinated federal employees would choose to have an injection.
Mr Biden said he was ordering the authorities to find ways to ensure that all federal contractors – including those who work for private companies from their own offices – could be vaccinated as a condition of their work with the federal government. This could extend the president’s plan to millions more workers, including those in places where vaccination rates are persistently low.
“If you want to do business with the federal government, vaccinate your workers,” the president said bluntly.
Mr Biden urged businesses and local governments to emulate his new vaccine requirements for federal employees, which he believes have been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The group said Thursday that the president’s new rules were “prudent steps to protect public health.”
However, the government’s move quickly caused consternation among some of the federal government’s largest unions, representing teachers, police officers and postal workers who called for negotiations on the issue.
“Forcing people to undergo medical intervention is not the American way and is a clear violation of civil rights, no matter how advocates may justify it,” said Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, in a statement.
The president also announced that small and medium-sized businesses will be reimbursed for paid vacation so employees and their families can get vaccinated. He called on the school districts to set up a “pop-up vaccination clinic” to vaccinate children before school starts. And he called on private companies, sports leagues and other institutions to have their employees vaccinated.
Mr Biden reached out directly to Americans who are “unvaccinated, unmolested and not convinced” and asked them to remember the depths of the lockdowns in 2020 and to “really remember how dark this winter was”.
“With incentives and mandates, we can make a big difference and save many lives,” he said.
Coronavirus vaccines are available to Americans ages 12 and older. However, as of Thursday, only 57.7 percent of those eligible were fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number is much higher among the oldest Americans; Almost 80 percent of Americans 65 or older are fully vaccinated.
July 29, 2021, 7:29 p.m. ET
During his campaign against former President Donald J. Trump, Mr Biden promised to defeat the virus despite the polarized politics of the country he inherited. A few weeks ago, Mr Biden held a party on July 4th at the White House to declare “independence” from the virus. Now he has to reckon with increasing case numbers and hospital stays, which threaten a return to work and school in the autumn.
Behind the scenes, Mr Biden’s top health officials have been debating the best way to get more people to get vaccinated without creating legal challenges or a backlash against vaccines for weeks, including on daily phone calls.
An internal assessment on July 27 for senior management at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs delivered the grim news about the progress of the pandemic: deaths rose 45 percent from the previous week, hospital admissions rose 46 percent and cases rose. “Since the lowest observed value on June 19, 2021, cases have increased by 440 percent,” the review concluded.
Aides said the president hoped his solution could become a model for state and local governments and businesses across the country. But its announcement on Thursday lagged the efforts of many of those institutions, who responded faster than the Biden government, to address the issue.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and California Governor Gavin Newsom both announced Monday that they would need hundreds of thousands of government employees to get vaccinated or undergo weekly tests. New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo soon followed suit.
Numerous companies – including Netflix, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Washington Post, Ascension Health, Lyft, Google, and Morgan Stanley – all announced strict guidelines requiring their workers to be injected as a working condition. Unvaccinated workers at MGM casinos are regularly tested at their own expense and if they test positive they must be quarantined.
In a joint statement this week, dozens of medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, called for vaccination of all healthcare and long-term care workers. The Department of Veterans Affairs was the first federal agency to ask many of its employees to have an injection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised their previous stance and recommended that vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors in areas with high transmission rates.
“This is a very changeable situation,” said Dr. Richard E. Besser, chairman of the board of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former assistant director of the CDC. “There is a lot of uncertainty and change.”
Understand the state of vaccine mandates in the United States
Few in Mr Biden’s administration doubted that the president could force federal employees to take the vaccine as a condition of employment. But a cumbersome mandate would backfire, most argued.
The solution announced by Biden on Thursday aims to evade allegations that the president is using the power of his office to force shots into people’s arms. Instead, officials hope the new workplace rules will encourage employees to get vaccinated.
Regarding the military, Mr Biden signaled that he could take a tougher stance.
As the commander in chief, the president has the authority to order troops to take an experimental vaccine – a move that would reach deep into areas of the country with low vaccination rates. The majority of federal employees live in the Washington area, including the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia, where vaccination rates are already high.
“I think it would have a much bigger impact in parts of the country with low vaccination rates and also in populations that have been reluctant to hopefully show them vaccination is not a problem,” said Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania who advised Mr. Biden during his transition.
Many members of the military were reluctant to take coronavirus vaccines. Dr. Besser said he was surprised the administration didn’t ask for it sooner. Military leaders cannot request the shots as they are currently authorized in an emergency. Mr Biden could order it, but was reluctant to exercise that authority.
But dr. Besser said Mr Biden’s move “made sense,” adding, “It’s highly contagious, the people in the military are very close, and in terms of operational readiness, you don’t want Covid to break through unvaccinated soldiers.”
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader and a polio survivor, encouraged people to get the vaccine. With the virus on the rise in conservative parts of the country, McConnell is among a handful of Republican leaders who are now specifically calling for a vaccination.
“In all honesty, it never occurred to me that we would have trouble getting people to take the vaccine,” he said.
Dr. Patrick Godbey, the president of the College of American Pathologists, which is campaigning for greater use of Covid-19 testing, said before Mr Biden spoke that this week’s events had changed the discussion. His own medical facility in Brunswick, Georgia, hasn’t yet required workers to get vaccinated, he said.
“People are looking at it now; They evaluate it in their own institutions, and that’s an important step forward, “he said, adding,” There’s a real limit in the sand when the federal government comes out and does it. “