President Biden announced Wednesday that he will require all federal workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to frequent testing.
Biden laid out a plan incentivizing Americans to take the vaccine, including paid time off to get vaccinated and $100 payments to Americans who get vaccinated, paid for by government. The president also said that federal workers will be forced to take the vaccine or be required to be tested regularly.
WH DODGES QUESTION ON WHY VACCINATED AMERICANS MUST WEAR MASKS WHILE INFECTED MIGRANTS RELEASED INTO TX TOWNS
“It’s time to impose requirements on key groups to make sure they are vaccinated,” Biden said. “Every federal government employee will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. Anyone who does not attest will be required to mask no matter where they work and test 1-2 times a week, socially distance, and will generally not be allowed to travel for work.”
Biden said that will also apply to federal contractors.
“From the moment I was elected I said I’d always give it to you straight from the shoulder, we need straight talk right now,” Biden said, adding that his experts tell him coronavirus cases will rise before they drop.
Biden reiterated his previous claim that the coronavirus pandemic is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” and called the situation an “American tragedy.”
The new rule will apply to roughly four million people who work for the federal government.
Biden also urged Americans who are skeptical of the vaccine not to worry and repeatedly called the vaccine “safe” while citing several Republican politicians who have said the same thing.
Biden spoke directly to those who believe their freedom is infringed by being told to take the vaccine and said, “With freedom comes responsibility.”
The president’s remarks come after a momentous week of updates regarding the nation’s fight against COVID-19.
On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to mandate that certain health care, patient-facing employees be vaccinated. States like New York and California also requiring state employees get vaccinated or get tested regularly.
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Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday released updated guidance on masks for vaccinated individuals, urging them to wear face coverings in certain situations amid the delta variant threat – a reversal from guidance the agency put out in May which said only unvaccinated individuals were required to wear masks.
Even amid the renewed mask guidance for vaccinated individuals, the White House says they serve as an “extra step” of protection, and maintained that COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing serious disease.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed reporting