Biden mandates widespread COVID-19 shots, tests
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden took aim on Thursday at vaccine resistance in the United States, announcing policies requiring most federal employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations and pushing large employers to have their workers inoculated or tested weekly.
The new measures, which Biden laid out in remarks from the White House, would apply to about two-thirds of all U.S. employees, those who work for businesses with more than 100 workers.
“We’ve been patient,” Biden told the tens of millions of Americans who have declined to get coronavirus shots. “But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.”
Taken together, the policies and speech represented Biden’s most aggressive steps yet to prod Americans resistant to getting shots as the fast-spreading Delta variant sparks a new wave of sickness and death.
The surge posed increased risk not just to the country, but to a president who ran on promises to get control of the pandemic.
Biden’s approval ratings have sagged since he said in July the United States was “closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus”.
Biden’s latest moves are expected to be the subject of political and legal challenges.
Despite a full-throttled campaign by the Biden administration urging Americans to get the free and widely available vaccines, a little over 62 per cent of eligible are fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Thursday, Biden warned that “we’re in a tough stretch and it could last for a while”.