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Attacking anti-vaccine movement, Biden mandates widespread COVID shots, tests

CoronavirusSep 10, 2021 08:21AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks in honor of labor unions in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 8, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

By Jeff Mason, Ahmed Aboulenein and Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden took aim on Thursday at vaccine resistance in America, 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 has 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, just over 62% of eligible Americans https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations_vacc-total-admin-rate-total 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."

Infectious disease and health policy experts said the mandates are unlikely to significantly change infection rates quickly.

Still, they would help against potential future waves of the virus, reducing deaths and hospitalizations and alleviating the stress on the healthcare system, said Georgetown University's Dr. Jesse Goodman, a former chief scientist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"It's absolutely the right thing to do," he said. "Ideally everyone would have been vaccinated already."

'FEAR, CONTROL AND MANDATES'

In a televised speech running a bit under half an hour, the Democratic president accused "a distinct minority of elected officials" who have resisted mask and vaccine mandates on freedom-of-choice and economic grounds as "making people sick."

The White House COVID-19 recovery plan https://www.reuters.com/world/us/bidens-covid-19-strategy-thwarted-by-anti-vaxxers-delta-variant-2021-07-29 was based on the vast majority of eligible Americans being vaccinated this year. But the public health issue has become politicized, with a vocal minority refusing the shots and mask mandates.

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order in July blocking mask mandates in schools.

Administration medical officials have said over 97% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated, and those people account for an even higher share of deaths.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the senior Republican on the House of Representatives committee that oversees health policy, said Biden "is using fear, control, and mandates."

The Republican National Committee said it intends to sue the Biden administration over the vaccine mandate.

Under Biden's plan, the administration will also require vaccinations for more than 17 million healthcare workers at hospitals and other institutions that participate in Medicare and Medicaid social programs for poor, disabled and older Americans.

Biden previously required that federal employees be vaccinated or get tested. Federal workers now have 75 days to get vaccinated, or face termination unless they fall into limited exemption categories.

Federal workers unions suggested on Thursday they would accept the vaccine mandate.

SUBSTANTIAL FINES

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plans to take enforcement actions against private companies that do not comply with the vaccine mandate, with substantial fines of nearly $14,000 per violation.

The administration is also calling on entertainment venues to require tests or shots and for states to adopt mandates for school employees. It is also multiplying the fines https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-doubling-fines-travelers-not-wearing-masks-2021-09-09 charged to people who fail to wear masks on airplanes, trains and buses.

It plans as well to ramp up testing capacity for the virus.

Biden will use authority under the Defense Production Act to spur industry to accelerate production of the tests, and big retailers including Walmart (NYSE:WMT) Inc , Amazon.com Inc (O:AMZN) and Kroger (NYSE:KR) Co are expected to sell the tests at cost for the next three months to make them more affordable.

Critics have said the Biden administration has not done enough on testing during its seven months in office. Still, the new demand for tests could tax already strained suppliers.

Administration officials believe the full recovery of the U.S economy depends on blunting the spread of the virus, the key focus of the president since entering office in January.

The disease has killed more than 654,000 people in the United States, and deaths and hospitalizations have been rising sharply as the easily transmissible Delta variant of the virus spreads. https://tmsnrt.rs/3A1KHg3

The spread of the Delta variant has raised concerns as children head back to school, while also rattling investors, upending company return-to-office plans and tamping down https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-job-growth-slows-sharply-august-unemployment-rate-falls-52-2021-09-03 hiring.

The White House also plans to offer booster shots providing additional protection to those who are fully vaccinated. But supplies are limited and the World Health Organization has begged rich countries to pause booster programs until more people worldwide are inoculated.

But with Delta causing more symptomatic breakthrough infections among fully inoculated individuals, most vaccinated Americans want a booster, a recent Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll found. Boosters could begin the week of Sept. 20.

"Get vaccinated," Biden urged in closing his speech.

Attacking anti-vaccine movement, Biden mandates widespread COVID shots, tests
 

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Comments (29)
Eero Rintala
Eero Rintala Sep 12, 2021 3:49AM ET
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wait for a huge unemployment numbers next time, now when workers are resigning in waves
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Sep 11, 2021 11:42AM ET
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The headline says it all. mr biden feels he needs to attack our citizens.
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Sep 10, 2021 8:56AM ET
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Biden exempted USPS from mandated vaccine because union did not want it, tells you Biden does not care about anyone health is only politics
BOB Blikenchip
BOB Blikenchip Sep 10, 2021 8:53AM ET
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I will never take anything the GOV tells me I have to take...period FULL STOP.  They can shove that poison up Biden's du-mb backside with a pitch fork.  It's not approved with FDA - read the fake approval.  It's still experimental.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 10, 2021 8:53AM ET
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if you don't work for the fed govt then this doesn't apply to you anyway......just to be clear, we are talking about the Trump vaccines, developed and approved under his administration, remember?
BOB Blikenchip
BOB Blikenchip Sep 10, 2021 8:53AM ET
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Tre Hsi  These vaccines were developed prior to Trump admin per GAIN OF FUNCTION research in CH-INK land agreement between Fauci and Wuhan lab.  Trump sucks - Biden Sucks - all politions are BS - what are you new.  SUM TING WONG with your brain.
BOB Blikenchip
BOB Blikenchip Sep 10, 2021 8:53AM ET
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Tre Hsi  The vaccine and covid were developed in CHI_NK LAND prior to covid outbreak -  Hope Xi and all his fellow CCP los-sers go straight to *******quickly.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Sep 10, 2021 8:53AM ET
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Tre Hsi  mr burden is also trying to make it mandatory to be able to work.
michael crosson
michael crosson Sep 10, 2021 8:04AM ET
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Life is like an episode if the Twilight Zone anymore.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Sep 10, 2021 12:22AM ET
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At most he can require federal employees to do stupid things.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Sep 10, 2021 12:22AM ET
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Tre Hsi  I got the vaccine. The federal gov should not make getting the vaccine a condition of employment.
Golden Berg
goldenberg Sep 09, 2021 11:03PM ET
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The only jab should be mandated is anti-commie jab. Biden's puppeteer wants you to submit and oblige by taking a jab. Watch movie "Songbird" that's what you getting if you accept mandates.
David David
David9 Sep 09, 2021 11:03PM ET
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Explain yourself...we waiting...
Joel Schwartz
Joel Schwartz Sep 09, 2021 11:03PM ET
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Lol that movie was awful
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 09, 2021 11:03PM ET
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BTW even The Donald said you should get the Covid jab, so I guess you think he has the puppeteer as Uncle Joe?
Eero Rintala
Eero Rintala Sep 09, 2021 11:03PM ET
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there is big difference if you say that you should, or force to take it
Options Trader
Options Trader Sep 09, 2021 10:56PM ET
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Deflection, deflection. This isnt about covid or Joe caring about our citizens. Its pure politics to deflect from his failures.
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam Sep 09, 2021 9:33PM ET
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You infected me and I will infect someone else is the American way. Santa will not wear any mask or take any vaccine.
David David
David9 Sep 09, 2021 9:24PM ET
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There is no way this virus will be under control here. We have too many stooopid people still say this is like a cold...
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Sep 09, 2021 9:24PM ET
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I have numerous relative who had it. It was like a cold. However, if you have other health issues, it can be dangerous.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 09, 2021 9:24PM ET
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Catholic Man  "I have numerous relative who had it. It was like a cold."  -- well, in that case I have numerous relatives who drive without putting seatbell on and they are still alive, so clearly we don't need seatbell at all in our cars, brilliant logic
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Sep 09, 2021 9:24PM ET
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Tre Hsi the mask the cdc found to be 1.8% effective in stopping the spread over 100 days… do you still wear one i thought so… its easy to outwit dems too easy
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 09, 2021 9:24PM ET
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Josh Davis  so now you are a believer of CDC?  good to know........
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Sep 09, 2021 9:24PM ET
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Tre Hsi  Your silly attempt at logic failed.
Honey Badger
Honey Badger Sep 09, 2021 8:36PM ET
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why pushing so hard when it's not effective More then three months.
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Sep 09, 2021 8:33PM ET
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Covid-19 was designed by far left usa. Initially to keep Trump out of the Whitehouse for second term. And to push communist agenda on us citizens.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 09, 2021 8:33PM ET
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"Covid-19 was designed by far left usa."  -- so it didnt come from China???  tell us more....
Green Mango
Green Mango Sep 09, 2021 7:56PM ET
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"we can't lose in Vietnam"    "Obamacare will save individuals thousands on insurance"   "we'll only be in Afghanistan until we've got those 9/11 perps"    "The Federal Income tax will be capped at 1%"   "The intelligence agencies are not collecting date on individual Americans"  "the lockdown will be for only 2 weeks to flatten the curve"  "we only have 12 years to fix climate change"  "Biden is fine, he's OK"   "your boy may be a girl, really"   "Take the shot, you'll all be fine"
Green Mango
Green Mango Sep 09, 2021 7:56PM ET
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Oh I forgot one....."we will get every American who wants to leave out of Afghanistan"
Eero Rintala
Eero Rintala Sep 09, 2021 7:56PM ET
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and the latest, we droned isis *******last week, oops it was an afgan first aid worker and his family working for USA
Miles Mathewson
Miles Mathewson Sep 09, 2021 7:49PM ET
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That's it. China of the americas
Carlo Gironzini
Carlo Gironzini Sep 09, 2021 7:42PM ET
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When Did America become communist? No scientific proof at all that the vaccine improves chances in the 1.6% to 2.5% at risk
Golden Berg
goldenberg Sep 09, 2021 6:31PM ET
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Americans are not brainwashed Canadians. They will hit the streets and BLM riots will look like a kids temper tantrum
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Sep 09, 2021 5:19PM ET
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In Israel over 70% of population has been fully vaccinated yet country is experiencing surge in Delta cases.
taylor jason
taylor jason Sep 09, 2021 5:19PM ET
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by surge you must mean the weekly averga death rate being 20 fatalities and a hospital ICU utilization of 10%. yep great argument. Felipe hopefully you get the virus
Golden Berg
goldenberg Sep 09, 2021 5:19PM ET
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taylor jason  you just throwing numbers out of your rear. Hospitals are full in Israel and death rate is huge. I know that from my relatives that live in Israel.
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Sep 09, 2021 5:19PM ET
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Been to Israel recently hospitals are full and yes mostly vaccinated
Ethel Basset
Ethel Basset Sep 09, 2021 5:00PM ET
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No way biden came up with this himself. LOL
Melissa Brown
Melissa Brown Sep 09, 2021 4:51PM ET
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So let me get this straight? The biden administration wants to sue Texas for not allowing women to make a choice about what goes in and out their bodies, YET the Biden Administration want to force (Mandate) the american people to put a vaccine in there bodies?
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Sep 09, 2021 4:51PM ET
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“My body my choice”. But vaccines mandatory is fine. Democrat hypocrisy.
Green Mango
Green Mango Sep 09, 2021 4:51PM ET
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SO, there are at least 10 of us? I feel better
Green Mango
Green Mango Sep 09, 2021 4:51PM ET
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Felipe Daniel  Only when your body contains a third person, then you get to decide
Bob Collins
Bob Collins Sep 09, 2021 4:19PM ET
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TYRANNY!!! A nation under cruel and oppressive government.
Ben Bigs
Ben Bigs Sep 09, 2021 4:19PM ET
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Time to seceed, oppressive federal government again
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Sep 09, 2021 3:59PM ET
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By the way this will create huge restrictions for healthcare for millions. Im not the only healthcare employee willing to lose my career over this.
Show previous replies (1)
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Sep 09, 2021 3:59PM ET
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Thank you Josh
taylor jason
taylor jason Sep 09, 2021 3:59PM ET
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have fun being unemployment
Ben Bigs
Ben Bigs Sep 09, 2021 3:59PM ET
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taylor jason he’ll be a combat medic
Golden Berg
goldenberg Sep 09, 2021 3:59PM ET
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taylor jason  Did vaccine damage your brain or your BF just left you?
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Sep 09, 2021 3:59PM ET
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Ben Bigs if i went into the military bud i would be much higher. I do anesthesia now as is as a crna. People have zero clue this means you get less operations, less healthcare, worse healthcare because increase patient ratios, which in turns causes burnout and more quitting.
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Sep 09, 2021 3:57PM ET
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Stay out of peoples frredom of choice. The original vaccine has an efficacy of 39% with delta. Research and stop trying to get fatter pockets joe
Robert Cutler
Robert Cutler Sep 09, 2021 10:54AM ET
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Darn at every vaccination point l thought sleepy Joe was going to station a transgender with raging covid so people like me could deliberately catch IT and in 2 weeks be over IT
Forex Harbingers
Forex Harbingers Sep 09, 2021 10:44AM ET
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lol, pull those strings puppet master.
Whaling Trawler
Whaling Trawler Sep 09, 2021 10:03AM ET
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...but this is all fake though
 
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