President Biden is expected to sign an executive order on Thursday requiring all federal workers get vaccinated against Covid-19 as one of a new slate of actions aimed at combating the ongoing surge of the delta variant in the U.S., according to multiple reports.
Biden had previously required all federal employees either get vaccinated or submit to regular testing for Covid-19, but is tightening those guidelines, The Washington Post and CNN both reported.
He is expected to sign an executive order mandating the jab for all federal workers with no option for testing to opt out of the requirement, and another setting the same standard for contractors who do business with the federal government.
The president will also reportedly announce a major expansion of free testing and will encourage private businesses to use the federal government’s vaccine mandate as a model, according to CNN.
These measures will be announced during a 5 p.m. speech from Biden.
2.1 million. That’s how many civilians are employed by the federal government, in addition to nearly 600,000 U.S. Postal Service staffers and more than 1.4 million uniformed military personnel.
The White House said Wednesday that Biden will be unveiling the framework for a new six-pronged plan to combat the still prevalent spread of Covid-19. Despite the widespread availability of vaccines, many areas still have low vaccination rates and are seeing sharp upticks in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. There are over 100,000 Americans currently hospitalized with Covid-19, and the country is averaging more than 1,500 deaths per day.
“We know that increasing vaccinations will stop the spread of the pandemic, will get the pandemic under control, will return people to normal life,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday. “That’s what our objective is, so we want to be specific about what we’re trying to achieve.”
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