If your firm has more than 100 employees and you don’t already require COVID-19 vaccines, get ready. You will soon have to thanks to a vaccine mandate by President Biden.
On Sept. 9, President Biden announced, “The Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees that together employ over 80 million workers to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week.”
The mandate also includes all federal workers and contractors.
Biggest step so far
Biden has resisted imposing a COVID-19 vaccination mandate because he didn’t want to politicize the vaccines more than they already were. But the rapid spread of the Delta variant made it quite clear that the vaccine resistors weren’t going to budge unless they were forced to.
This now marks the biggest step the Biden administration has taken involving private businesses to fight the pandemic.
He took the step because he doesn’t believe the vaccination rate will get any better without a mandate, as evident by this statement:
“We’ve made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So please, do the right thing,” said Biden.
Industry experts have noted that the mandate is sure to be challenged in court.
Vaccine mandates purpose
The vaccine mandate’s primary purpose centers on protecting workers from unvaccinated workers. Secondary to that, but encased in it, the mandate will combat the Delta variant and improve U.S. vaccination rates. With cases, hospitalizations and deaths still on the rise, getting everyone who can be vaccinated vaccinated is imperative.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 75.2% of American adults have at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot. Problem is community transmission is still high. And the Delta variant accounts for nearly all U.S. cases.
To help employers, the Defense Production Act increased the production of rapid COVID-19 tests and at-home rapid tests. They’ll be available at major pharmacies in the next few months at cost.
In addition, OSHA is creating a rule that requires 100-plus-employee firms:
- verify their workers are vaccinated, or
- mandate unvaccinated employees be tested every week and produce at least once negative test a week.
OSHA will be issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard to introduce the vaccine requirement. Failing to comply will be a costly mistake. Fines can rise to the level of $14,000 per violation, said President Biden.
With the announcement of the mandate, some companies like mega company, Proctor & Gamble, have already started requiring its employees to show proof of vaccination or provide the company with a weekly negative COVID-19 test.