Biden to Reveal Six-Point Plan to Curb COVID-19 as Cases On the Rise
Previously, federal workers had an alternative, if, for some reason, they did not want to or could not get a COVID-19 vaccine. For example, they could undergo regular testing.
US President Joe Biden will be presenting a six-point plan to fight a surge of the Delta strain of the virus on Thursday, 9 September, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said. One of the points will feature mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all federal workers, Reuters reported, citing an anonymous source.
Among the other measures that will be announced on 9 September are an increase in testing, "keeping schools safely open", and changes to the way COVID-19 patients are treated. The White House spokeswoman said that despite the initial success, the fight against the pandemic is not over.
"We have more work to do, and we are still at war with the virus and with the delta variant. So we’re going to build on that work".
In August this year, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin the announced mandatory vaccination of all members of the Department of Defence in order to have "healthy and ready [armed] forces" amid the conditions of the ongoing pandemic. The plan involves "ambitious timelines for implementation", and while no specific deadline was set, media reports have suggested that Austin expected the vaccination of the 800,000 servicemen who have not had jabs to be complete within a matter of weeks, not months.
Fight for Vaccination Continues
The revealed future announcement will reportedly put an end to the current practice, where federal workers could avoid getting anti-COVID jabs if they didn't want to or could not be vaccinated. They used to have the option of undergoing regular testing instead.
The reported move to make vaccinations mandatory for some groups of people comes as the Biden administration struggles to promote jabs amid the raging Delta variant and the slowing vaccination rate. According to 8 September data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some 177 million, or 53.3%, Americans were fully vaccinated, while 62.7% had received only one jab.
13 August 2021, 03:52 GMT
These numbers fall short of even the most optimistic estimates of how many people should get the shots to achieve herd immunity. In addition, some states and counties in the US show levels of vaccination significantly lower than the average across the country, making these communities more prone to witnessing hospitalisations due to COVID-19-related complications.
At the same time, the US started in the middle of August to administer so-called "booster shots"– third injections of the vaccine to improve the immune response in people who might need it. Some 1.5 million US residents have already used this opportunity.