As the White House tries to get back on the offensive in handling the pandemic, President Biden made a case for COVID-19 (CCP virus) vaccination regulations and urged more corporations to require their employees to get vaccinated.
“I’m calling more employers to act,” Biden said on Thursday, Oct. 7, during a visit to a Clayco construction site in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. “My message is, require your employees to get vaccinated. With vaccinations we’re going to beat this pandemic finally. Without them we face endless months of chaos in our hospitals, damage to our economy and anxiety in our schools and empty restaurants and much less commerce.”
Last month, Biden issued a rule mandating enterprises with 100 or more employees to ensure that their personnel are vaccinated or tested on a regular basis. According to NBC News, while the Labor Department will release details of the emergency rule in the coming weeks, Biden urged businesses to act now rather than waiting for the obligation to take effect.
Biden claims he is fighting for employer-based regulations since firms’ vaccination rates increased by more than 90% after they were implemented. He also feels that widespread vaccination is necessary for economic revival.
“Here’s the deal, these requirements are already proving that they work,” the president said. “In the past few weeks, as more and more organizations have implemented their own requirements, they’ve seen their vaccination rates rise dramatically.”
He said that after the Department of Defense imposed the vaccinations six weeks ago, the rate of vaccinated active-duty troops increased from 67 percent to 97 percent.
Biden claimed that United Airlines, based in Chicago, saw its vaccination rate leap from 59 percent to 99 percent after the mandate was announced in early August. In addition, in a company of 67,000 employees, half of the previously unvaccinated workers selected the shot while facing termination, leaving about 200 holdouts, according to Washington Times.
“More lives are being saved,” Biden said, criticizing those who focus on holdouts threatening to quit. “Look at the bigger story.”
The president’s visit comes as businesses seek clarification on the COVID-19 vaccine and testing restrictions that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) will impose on businesses with 100 or more employees. The rule has been stumbling through the rule-making process for a month, but Biden claims that businesses do not need to wait for OSHA to implement a system.
About 56 percent of the population in the United States has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 65 percent having received at least one dose. However, roughly a quarter of those eligible, or around 70 million people, have yet to register for a single shot.
Biden is concerned that they may allow the virus to spread, clogging hospitals over the winter months and triggering “breakthrough” infections in vaccinated people.
While incidences have decreased recently, the president stated that the United States is still not out of the woods.
Republican critics and other analysts argue that federal mandates could backfire by turning a health-care initiative into a blatantly political issue.
“This isn’t about if someone should or should not get the vaccine, it’s about the fact that Biden is demanding they do—Biden is putting politics OVER our personal freedoms,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said Thursday in a fundraising pitch.
Some Republican governors have banned mandatory vaccinations inside their states, claiming that no worker should have to choose between getting a shot and feeding their families.
Near the Clayco site, a protester held up a sign that read: “Mandates are 4 Greed and power.”
The new rules will almost certainly be challenged in court once implemented. In addition, industry organizations have raised concerns about their viability, such as whether there are enough tests or what happens if employers reject and walk off the job during the current labor shortage.
The administration claims that the business sector has reasonable concerns, which are being investigated by OSHA.