President Joe Biden is reportedly set to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all federal employees and contractors.
Biden is expected to make the announcement on Thursday, an attempt by his administration to tackle the spread of COVID-19 and push businesses who have not yet forced vaccines onto their employees to do so.
Among the steps that the President will take is signing an executive order requiring all federal workers to be vaccinated, with no option of being regularly tested to opt out of the requirement, according to a source familiar with the plans.
The President will also sign an executive order directing that same standard be extended to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government. The Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Indian Health Service and National Institute of Health will also complete their previously announced vaccination requirements, which the White House estimates covers 2.5 million people.
Biden’s announcement follows actions he took earlier this year when he gave employees the option of taking regular COVID tests if they were to not take the vaccine.
During White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s daily briefing, she said that Biden is expected to announce six “new steps” in the COVID response on Thursday. When asked about how Biden’s new plan would impact Americans, Psaki responded, “It depends on if you’re vaccinated or not.”
“There are — there are six new — there are six steps the president is announcing. There will be new components, as I noted and you noted. Some of that will be related to access to testing. Some will be related to mandates. Some will be related to how we ensure kids are protected in schools,” Psaki continued. “And we’ll have more — we’ll preview more tomorrow as all the pieces are finalized. But there will be new components that, sure, will of course impact people across the country. But we’re also all working together to get the virus under control, to return to our normal lives. And I know many people, I’m sure, are looking forward to hearing what the president has to say.”
Some parts of the federal government have already announced vaccine mandates for their employees, with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issuing a memorandum on Monday informing all Department of Defense employees of an upcoming vaccine mandate.
The Associated Press reported in early August, “Members of the U.S. military will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine beginning next month under a plan laid out by the Pentagon Monday and endorsed by President Joe Biden.” According to the outlet, “Austin said the mid-September deadline could be accelerated if the vaccine receives final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise.”
“I have every confidence that Service leadership and your commanders will implement this new vaccination program with professionalism, skill, and compassion,” Austin wrote. “To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force."