President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that federal government employees and contractors will now be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will create a rule for private businesses with 100 or more employees to require their employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.
The requirements are part of Biden’s sweeping new six-part strategy to combat the delta variant, which was rolled out in remarks from Biden at the White House.
A senior administration official estimated that this new OSHA requirement will cover about 80 million workers and businesses that do not comply with the agency’s rule can face substantial fees — up to $14,000. OSHA will require these employers to offer paid time off for vaccination.
“My job as president is to protect all Americans,” Biden said before announcing the broad mandates.
As part of his effort to vaccinate the federal executive branch, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Indian Health Service and the National Institutes of Health will complete implementation of their previously announced vaccination requirements that cover 2.5 million people.
Biden’s remarks are scheduled for just 11 days before the administration is set to begin widely rolling out booster shots of Pfizer on Sept. 20, a process mired by confusion as some public health experts say the data doesn’t yet support the need for boosters.