The White House Says These Places Should "Adopt Vaccination Requirements"
Here's why your workplace may have new rules regarding vaccination in the near future.
As we approach our eighteenth month of the COVID pandemic and brace for the ongoing impact of the highly transmissible Delta variant, many Americans have grown impatient with vaccine hesitancy. And according to a recent report from The New York Times, we still have a ways to go: roughly 30 percent of eligible adults have yet to receive a COVID shot, and many have no plans to do so any time soon—if ever.
That figure—30 percent—translates into 93 million Americans who experts say are still especially vulnerable to becoming infected with COVID-19. While breakthrough infections do occur among vaccinated individuals, they tend to be especially mild. One report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 99.99 percent of Americans who are fully vaccinated have not had a breakthrough COVID infection that has resulted in hospitalization or death.
That's why White House representatives, who have long encouraged the public to become vaccinated, are now taking their pleas a step further. They're imploring businesses to adopt vaccine policies that support widespread vaccination.
In a White House press conference on Friday, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients had this to say: "If you're an American who is not yet vaccinated or if you're an employer who has yet to adopt vaccination requirements, we have a very simple message: get off the sidelines, step up, and do your part. Individuals, get vaccinated, employers, adopt vaccination requirements. You have the power to protect your communities and help end the pandemic."
This comes on the heels of a new policy issued by President Joe Biden, requiring vaccination for federal workers, the armed forces, employees of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, select nursing home staff, and Department of Health and Human Services personnel. Though the new rules stop short of regulating vaccinations for workers in the public sector, Zients notes, "we're seeing continued momentum for stronger vaccination requirements across the country."
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Each day, there are new reports of businesses that have chosen to issue their own COVID vaccination requirements—including Disney, Deloitte, CVS Health, and nearly 50 major universities. On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced plans to issue a vaccine mandate for all city employees.
As the summer comes to a close and we enter a second autumn of COVID, we're likely to see more regulations taking shape—whether they come from the White House or from employers and other institutions. For many major companies—from Delta Air Lines to the NFL—those conversations are already well underway.