“This is not not about freedom.” So said Joe Biden on Thursday to justify a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination mandate for businesses with more than 100 workers. Those who are not vaccinated must submit a negative test every week.
The measure, announced on Thursday by Biden from the White House, affects at least 100 million workers nationwide. The Democrat said that with this plan, he intends to reduce hospitalizations and deaths.
“I am announcing a new plan to combat COVID-19, based on our whole-of-government approach. The plan will vaccinate more people, decrease hospitalizations and deaths, and keep our schools and our economy open,” Biden said.
He also explained that fines will be doubled for those travelers who do not want to wear masks. “If you break the rules, be prepared to pay,” he said.
With the same forcefulness, he indicated that he will take measures if the governors do not collaborate with the White House plan to face the pandemic. “If these governors won’t help beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way,” he said.
The president also said that the government is “frustrated” due to the fact that there are almost 80 million Americans who have not yet been vaccinated. He also took the opportunity to emphasize that the vaccine is safe and effective.
“Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated,” he said.
Other measures in addition to mandatory vaccination
Biden also detailed that employees should not be deducted from their salaries for the hours they spend getting vaccinated, and he explained that the company should not deduct the hours people spend vaccinating a family member.
“That is why I am instructing the Department of Labor to require employers to give employees paid time off for vaccinations,” he said.
The Democrat indicated that the measures include even healthcare workers and that his administration will ensure that all healthcare workers are vaccinated. “I am expanding vaccination requirements to cover those who work in hospitals, home health care facilities, and other medical facilities. If you are seeking care at a health facility, you should know that the people treating you are vaccinated,” Biden said.
He added that efforts will be doubled to increase vaccination sites across the country and that the intent of this plan is to keep the economy open and to address the Delta variant.