Source: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis.
By Katie Pavlich
The White House released new details about President Joe Biden’s federal Wuhan coronavirus vaccination mandate Thursday morning, giving large employers a firm deadline for implementation or fines.
“For our country, the choice is simple: get more people vaccinated, or prolong this pandemic and its impact on our country. The virus will not go away by itself, or because we wish it away: we have to act. Vaccination is the single best pathway out of this pandemic. And while I would have much preferred that requirements not become necessary, too many people remain unvaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic for good. So I instituted requirements,” Biden released in a statement. “I’m calling on employers to act. Businesses have more power than ever before to accelerate our path out of this pandemic, save lives, and protect our economic recovery.”
In September Biden announced OSHA had been directed with developing and enforcing rules around workplace vaccination. Today, the White House is publishing more on what that means.
Get Their Employees Vaccinated by January 4th and Require Unvaccinated Employees to Produce a Negative Test on at Least a Weekly Basis: All covered employers must ensure that their employees have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated – either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson – by January 4th. After that, all covered employers must ensure that any employees who have not received the necessary shots begin producing a verified negative test to their employer on at least a weekly basis, and they must remove from the workplace any employee who receives a positive COVID-19 test or is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed health care provider. The ETS lays out the wide variety of tests that comply with the standard. Given that vaccines are safe, free, and the most effective way for workers to be protected from COVID-19 transmission at work, the ETS does not require employers to provide or pay for tests. Employers may be required to pay for testing because of other laws or collective bargaining agreements.
Pay Employees for the Time it Takes to Get Vaccinated: All covered employers are required to provide paid-time for their employees to get vaccinated and, if needed, sick leave to recover from side effects experienced that keep them from working.
Ensure All Unvaccinated Employees are Masked: All covered employers must ensure that unvaccinated employees wear a face mask while in the workplace.
Other Requirements and Compliance Date: Employers are subject to requirements for reporting and recordkeeping that are spelled out in the detailed OSHA materials available here. While the testing requirement for unvaccinated workers will begin after January 4th, employers must be in compliance with all other requirements – such as providing paid-time for employees to get vaccinated and masking for unvaccinated workers – on December 5th. The Administration is calling on all employers to step up and make these changes as quickly as possible.
I’m told Biden vax mandate for private sector DOES NOT include carve-out for truckers. So all the biggest trucking companies in America – who already face major driver shortages – will see a % of their workforce quit. Supply chain crisis is going to get much worse – very soon.
— Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP) November 4, 2021
As previously reported, OSHA is not requiring employers or federal agencies to document adverse reactions or side effects caused by the Wuhan coronavirus vaccine.
A study published last week shows vaccinated individuals spread Wuhan coronavirus at the same rate as unvaccinated people.
According to the study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, people who contracted COVID-19 had a similar viral load regardless of whether they had been vaccinated. The study further found that 25% of vaccinated household contacts contracted COVID-19, while 38% of unvaccinated individuals were diagnosed with the disease.
Researchers examined 621 symptomatic participants in the U.K. over a year. “Although vaccines remain highly effective at preventing severe disease and deaths from COVID-19, our findings suggest that vaccination is not sufficient to prevent transmission of the delta variant in household settings with prolonged exposures,” the study said.