If you’re going to have to put up with the political opposition calling you the Hitler of vaccines regardless, President Joe Biden appears to have reasoned, you might as well also get the benefit of curtailing the pandemic by putting vaccine requirements in place:
The White House will reportedly issue and enforce the requirement via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, with each violation carrying a fine of $14,000. There are roughly 125 million privately employed individuals in the United States, which means this rule will cover a majority of them. I have no sources for the following assertion besides common sense and lived experience, but I am confident in saying, as news writers do, that “the move is expected to face legal challenges.”
Biden, moreover, plans to mandate vaccination for executive branch employees and federal contractors with no opt-out testing alternative. That rule would cover more than 4 million individuals; another mandate will extend to an estimated 17 million health care workers whose employers receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements. It’s not clear from initial reports if there will be a testing opt-out for the health care sector.
The public health rationale for these requirements is strong: Only 64 percent of American adults are fully vaccinated, which has manifestly not been enough to stop COVID-19 from spreading. Biden may also have concluded, like more and more state-level Democrats, that the delta variant has made the U.S. public as a whole less interested in tolerating the danger presented by unvaccinated individuals—and that a crucial portion of that public blames Democrats for delta, despite the party’s pro-vaccine position, simply because it’s in power at the national level. (A Gallup poll published this week found 56 percent support for workplace vaccine requirements, although it asked about requirements imposed by private businesses rather than the government.)
Well. Here we go!