COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Issued for Federal Workforce, Private Companies with 100+ Employees

On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued a requirement that all members of the federal workforce as well as employees in companies with 100 or more employees be vaccinated for COVID-19.]. The mandate affects as many as 100 million Americans in an effort to curb the surging COVID-19 delta variant, which is causing 300% more new COVID-19 infections daily, about 2.5 times more hospitalizations, and nearly twice the number of deaths compared with this time last year. “We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” President Biden said, referring to the 80 million Americans who remain unvaccinated. “The unvaccinated minority can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”

The rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require their workers to be vaccinated or tested for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. The 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funds also will have to be fully vaccinated. Vaccinations will also be required for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government, with no option to test out. This covers several million more workers.

The requirement for large companies to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for employees will be enacted through a forthcoming rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that carries penalties of $14,000 per violation.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will extend a vaccination requirement issued earlier this summer for nursing home staff, to other health care settings, including hospitals, home health agencies, and dialysis centers. The Department of Health and Human Services will require vaccinations in Head Start Programs, as well as schools run by the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Indian Education, affecting about 300,000 employees.

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