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What You Need to Know About Biden’s New COVID-19 Plan—Including a Sweeping Vaccine Mandate

Final evening, President Biden introduced a brand new COVID-19 vaccine mandate as a part of a serious plan to comprise the pandemic. 

“Even because the delta variant—COVID-19—has been hitting this nation laborious, we’ve the instruments to fight the virus, if we are able to come collectively as a rustic and use these instruments,” Biden mentioned in a speech on September 9, 2021. “If we elevate our vaccination charge, shield ourselves and others with masking and expanded testing, and establish people who find themselves contaminated, we are able to and we are going to flip the tide on COVID-19.”

He went on to announce the COVID-19 Motion Plan, a six-point technique to get ahold of the pandemic that features getting extra individuals vaccinated, including much more safety for many who are already vaccinated, ensuring faculties can keep open safely, implementing different precautions (together with making free COVID-19 assessments broadly accessible and requiring masks in sure conditions), bettering look after individuals with COVID-19, and defending the nation’s financial restoration.

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As you may think, that features many intertwined methods. However the one which’s already gotten probably the most consideration is a vaccine mandate that may apply to all non-public firms with 100 or extra staff. The plan additionally features a requirement that these employers give individuals paid day off with a purpose to get the vaccines.

“I’m saying that the Division of Labor is growing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or extra staff, that collectively make use of over 80 million staff, to make sure their workforces are totally vaccinated or present a unfavorable take a look at no less than as soon as per week,” Biden mentioned. “We’re going to guard vaccinated staff from unvaccinated coworkers. We’re going to cut back the unfold of COVID-19 by growing the share of the workforce that’s vaccinated in companies all throughout America.” 

Authorized specialists beforehand advised SELF {that a} vaccine mandate like that is unlikely to be a violation of well being privateness rules. And corporations could also be extra snug implementing COVID-19 vaccine necessities now that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has full approval from the Meals and Drug Administration.

The vaccine mandate—and the entire sweeping plan—is a daring transfer that public well being specialists have been eagerly ready for. 

“Biden’s 6-point Delta plan has a lot of what I have been desirous to see,” Celine Gounder, M.D., medical assistant professor of medication and infectious illnesses at New York College’s Grossman Faculty of Drugs, wrote on Twitter. “Making use of the ENTIRE toolbox towards COVID, together with however not restricted to vaccines.” 

“I am fairly thrilled with @potus announcement in the present day,” Ashish Okay. Jha, M.D., MPH, dean of the Brown College Faculty of Public Well being, mentioned on Twitter. “COVID is killing 1500 People. Each. Day. We’ve the instruments to defeat COVID.”

“That is the testing plan that we have been ready for. Protection Manufacturing Act to ramp up speedy antigen take a look at. Main retailers to promote COVID assessments at value. Increasing free testing at pharmacies,” Thomas Tsai, M.D., MPH, assistant professor within the Division of Well being Coverage and Administration at Harvard T.H. Chan Faculty of Public Well being, wrote on Twitter. “With the brand new @WhiteHouse Path Out of the Pandemic Plan, we are able to refocus on #FlattenTheCurve by way of vaccinations, testing, air flow, and masking. We did this in 2020 to guard the aged in nursing houses. We are able to do that now to guard our kids in faculties,” he continued.

That mentioned, there are a number of locations the place they felt the plan may have gone additional, and a few expressed some reservations about whether or not there’s actually sufficient information to warrant third COVID-19 vaccine photographs for most of the people. However total, the plan incorporates a mixture of the general public well being measures we already know may also help push us out of the pandemic (together with vaccines, testing, masks, and extra) in the event that they’re used successfully on a big scale.

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