Biden to announce all federal workers must be vaccinated, with no possibility of testing – .

Biden to announce all federal workers must be vaccinated, with no possibility of testing – .

In a major speech intended to present a new approach to the fight against the coronavirus, the president will also sign an executive order ordering that the same standard be extended to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government. The Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Indian Health Service and the National Institutes of Health will also complete their previously announced vaccination requirements, which the White House estimates cover 2.5 million workers. .

The new announcements go beyond what Biden announced earlier this summer, when he demanded that federal workers be vaccinated but allowed those who chose not to be subject to strict mitigation measures. The White House said the federal government should serve as a role model for other companies in their own vaccine mandates, and praised large companies for requiring their employees to be vaccinated.

Biden also plans to announce a major extension of free testing on Thursday, a step public health officials say is critical to containing the virus, especially as children return to school and some workers return to their offices. .

And he will address the confusion over booster shots, but will not make any new announcements about when additional doses will be allowed for Americans.

The six-pronged plan Biden is set to unveil was finalized by the president and members of his public health team on Wednesday afternoon. He received a briefing in the Oval Office from his Covid-19 response team on the new steps planned.
A White House official said the six pillars of Biden’s plan include: vaccinating the unvaccinated; protect the vaccinees further with booster injections; keep schools open; increase testing and require masks; protect economic recovery; and improve care for people with Covid-19.

Officials said they hoped the new approach would provide Americans with a clearer vision of the end of the pandemic after 18 months of life diminished by Covid. The White House has watched the president’s approval ratings fall on Covid, and believes part of the problem is the setback felt this summer: a spike in cases has led to a return to masks and continued work at residence.

An ABC News / Washington Post poll conducted in late August found that 52% of those polled approve of Biden’s handling of the pandemic, down 10 points from June. Still, more respondents said they approved of his handling of Covid than disapproved of.

At the same time, Biden’s overall endorsement has shifted into negative territory amid a chaotic pullout from Afghanistan and the Delta variant slowing down on economic recovery. The president’s aides see the fight against the pandemic as the most important issue of his presidency and the one that will determine his political destiny.

As U.S. students return to classrooms, battles over masks and vaccine requirements for older children have erupted in school districts across the country. Health officials say they expect vaccines to be licensed for children under 12 in the coming months, but parents have become frustrated with the pace at which the process is unfolding.

Biden identified schools as a key area, given the wider effect having children in classrooms has on the economy, especially for women.

While Biden urged companies to demand vaccines for workers, officials said they believe the private sector can do more to encourage people to get vaccinated. This includes the requirement for proof of vaccination in restaurants, bars and other places. Administration officials have been working over the past few weeks to determine ways in which the government could make it easier for businesses to enforce these requirements.

The White House has repeatedly stated that there will not be a federally mandated vaccination passport, but has advocated other ways to increase vaccination rates.

At the same time, the administration is preparing to roll out booster shots for Americans who have already received vaccines, although it is unclear when the third injections will begin.

The Biden administration initially said last month that a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine would be available for adults on September 20. But senior health officials have warned the White House they may need more time to review all the data needed before they can recommend booster shots. The United States Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to meet on September 17 to discuss COVID-19 booster injections.

This story has been updated with additional reports.


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