President Biden announced that every federal government employee and onsite contractor will be asked to “attest to their vaccination status,” and will require anyone not fully vaccinated to wear a mask at work regardless of where they live, social distance and get tested once or twice a week. Employees can also face restrictions on official travel. According to a fact sheet that was released to reporters, Biden is directing the Department of Defense to look into how and when they will add COVID-19 vaccination to the list of required vaccinations for members of the military. Pfizer, Moderna and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines were granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), but the FDA is facing pressure to issue full authorization of the vaccines, which could open the door to mandates in schools, and the military.
The White House is also ramping up efforts to get more Americans vaccinated, including calling on states, territories and local governments to do more to incentivize vaccination by offering $100 to those who get vaccinated and reimbursing small- and medium-sized businesses for offering their employees paid leave to get their family members vaccinated.
However groups representing large numbers of federal workers — including law enforcement and postal workers — raised some early objections to the president’s announcement. Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said in a statement: “As an association representing those men and women charged with protecting the Constitutional rights of all Americans, including the right to privacy and choice, we are concerned by any move that would mandate the COVID-19 vaccine among federal employees.”
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