‘Not going back’: Biden considers requiring vaccines for all federal workers

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McLean: President Joe Biden said his administration is considering whether to require US federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“That’s under consideration right now,” Biden told a reporter who asked whether the administration was weighing such a requirement.

US President Joe Biden at the Office of the Director Of National Intelligence headquarters discussed plans for more vaccinations.Credit:Bloomberg

Biden made the remark during a visit to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in McLean, Virginia on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST), as his administration’s health experts advised Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to start wearing masks again in some circumstances due to the virus’ fast-spreading Delta variant.

California and New York have already mandated that state employees must be vaccinated as the fight against the pandemic moves into a new phase. The US’s top drug regulator has urged both Pfizer and Moderna to begin testing their vaccines on younger patients, in a move to potentially expand their use.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that the administration had not made a determination about whether it would be legal for Biden to require federal employees to be vaccinated. The US federal government is the country’s largest employer.

The President plans to announce “next steps” in the effort to get more Americans to get shots, he said in a separate statement released by the White House.

“In the meantime, more vaccinations and mask wearing in the areas most impacted by the Delta variant will enable us to avoid the kind of lockdowns, shutdowns, school closures, and disruptions we faced in 2020,” he said.

“Unlike 2020, we have both the scientific knowledge and the tools to prevent the spread of this disease. We are not going back to that.”

The new health guidance from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention applies to fully vaccinated Americans in indoor public places only in regions where the coronavirus is quickly spreading.

Biden said he “certainly will” follow the guidance when he travels to such areas.

Reuters

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