US President Joe Biden on Thursday a new 6 step “action plan” to fight the surge in coronavirus disease cases largely driven by the highly infectious Delta variant.
Over 200 million individuals in the US are either fully or partially vaccinated while more than 80 million eligible population has not received a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine hesitancy among unvaccinated has been a major reason behind the surge in Covid-19 cases.
The latest plan is aimed taking the vaccine hesitancy head on by mandating Covid-19 vaccines for federal workers, contractors, and certain health workers. It will also require employees at companies with 100 or more workers to be either get vaccinated or get tested weekly.
A rule will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated workers will need to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. According to the White House, this requirement will impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses.
The new rule will require employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for getting vaccinated or recovering from post-vaccination sickness.
The plan requires mandatory vaccinations for over 17 million health care workers in hospitals, clinics and other facilities that accept payments from Medicare and Medicaid.
The staff in Head Start programs, department of defence schools, and Bureau of Indian education-operated schools will be required to get vaccinated. The plan calls on governors to make vaccination mandatory for teachers and school staff.
The Biden administration is preparing for booster shots to start as early as the week of September 20, subject to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Booster shots will be made available free of cost across 80,000 locations.Mask requirements for interstate travel and in the federal property will continue and those found violating the guidelines will be double fined.
The department of defense will double the number of military medical teams deployed to support local hospitals battling a surge in Covid-19 cases. The Biden administration will boost shipments of free monoclonal antibody treatment by 50% in September.