Sept. 9, 2021 — President Joe Biden on Thursday introduced a number of latest plans to rein in COVID-19’s runaway transmission within the U.S., together with sweeping vaccine mandates that may have an effect on 100 million American staff, almost two-thirds of the nation’s workforce.
“As your president, I’m asserting tonight a brand new plan to get extra People vaccinated to fight these blocking public well being,” he stated.
As a part of a six-part plan unveiled in a speech from the State Eating Room of the White Home, Biden stated he would require vaccinations for almost 4 million federal staff and the staff of corporations that contract with the federal authorities.
He has additionally directed the Occupational Security and Well being Administration to develop a rule that may require massive employers — these with at the very least 100 staff — to make sure their staff are vaccinated or examined weekly.
Biden stated the federal authorities would require employees at federally funded Head Begin applications and faculties to be vaccinated. He’s additionally calling on all states to mandate vaccines for academics.
“A definite minority of People, supported by a definite minority of elected officers, are holding us from turning the nook,” Biden stated. “These pandemic politics, as I discuss with them, are making folks sick, inflicting unvaccinated folks to die.”
One public well being official stated he was glad to see the president’s daring motion.
“What I noticed right this moment was the federal authorities attempting to make use of its powers to create higher security within the American inhabitants,” stated Ashish Okay. Jha, MD, Dean of the college of public well being at Brown College, in a name with reporters after the speech.
Nationwide Nurses United, the most important union of registered nurses within the U.S. issued an announcement in assist of Biden’s new vaccination necessities, however pushed again on his language.
“…as advocates for public well being, registered nurses wish to be extraordinarily clear: There is no such thing as a such factor as a pandemic of solely the unvaccinated. The science of epidemiology tells us there is only one lethal, international pandemic that has not but ended, and we’re all in it collectively. To get out of it, we should act collectively. All of us,” the assertion says.
A number of different skilled teams, together with the American Medical Affiliation and the Affiliation of State and Territorial Well being Officers, additionally issued statements of assist for Biden’s plan.
However the plan was not properly acquired by all.
“I’ll pursue each authorized choice out there to the state of Georgia to cease this blatantly illegal overreach by the Biden Administration,” stated Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, in a Tweet.
The Nationwide Council for Occupational Security and Well being referred to as the plan “a missed alternative” as a result of it failed to incorporate office protections for important staff similar to grocery, postal, and transit staff.
“Social distancing, improved air flow, shift rotation, and protecting gear to cut back publicity are vital elements of an general plan to cut back threat and cease the virus. These instruments are lacking from the brand new steps President Biden introduced right this moment,” stated Jessica Martinez, Co-Govt Director of the group.
Along with the brand new vaccination necessities, Biden stated further doses can be on the best way for individuals who have already been totally vaccinated so as to shield towards waning immunity, beginning on Sept. 20. However he famous that these plans can be contingent on the FDA’s approval for third doses and the CDC’s suggestion of the pictures.
Biden pledged to make use of the Protection Manufacturing Act to ramp up manufacturing of at-home assessments, which have been promoting out throughout the nation because the Delta variant spreads.
He additionally introduced plans to develop entry to COVID-19 testing, together with providing testing totally free at 1000’s of pharmacies nationwide and getting main retailers to promote at-home COVID-19 assessments at price.
The BinaxNow take a look at package, which presently retails for $23.99, will now price about $15 for 2 assessments at Kroger, Amazon, and Walmart, in keeping with the White Home. Meals banks and group well being facilities will get free assessments, too.
He referred to as on states to arrange COVID-19 testing applications in any respect faculties.
Jha stated that in his view, the large, game-changing information out of the president’s speech was the growth of testing.
“Our nation has didn’t deploy assessments in a method that may actually deliver this pandemic underneath management,” Jha stated. “There are many causes, information, expertise to point that if these had been extensively out there, it will make a dramatic distinction in lowering an infection numbers throughout our nation.".
Jha stated the non-public market had not labored successfully to make testing extra extensively out there, so it was “completely a requirement of the federal authorities to step in and make testing extra extensively out there,” he stated.
Biden additionally introduced new financial stimulus applications, saying he’s increasing mortgage applications to small businesses and streamlining the mortgage forgiveness course of.
Biden stated he’s boosting assist for overburdened hospitals, doubling the variety of federal surge response groups despatched to hard-hit areas to cut back the pressure on native well being care staff. He stated he would improve the tempo of antibody therapies to states by 50%.
“We made a lot progress in the course of the previous 7 months of this pandemic. Even so, we stay at a important second, a important time,” he stated. “We’ve the instruments. Now, we simply have to complete the job with fact, with science, with confidence and collectively as one nation.”