White House Spells Out Details of Vaccine Mandate

Workers at big companies have until Jan. 4 to get vaccinated
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2021 12:21 PM CDT
White House Spells Out Details of Vaccine Mandate
A nurse prepares a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(Newser) – The White House on Thursday revealed new details about its plan to require vaccinations in the American workplace. Highlights:

  • Deadline: Workers at businesses with more than 100 employees have until Jan. 4 to get vaccinated. Employees have the option to skip the vaccinations if they agree to weekly COVID tests and wear a mask, reports the New York Times.
  • Who pays: Companies must provide paid time off for workers to get their shots or to recover from any side effects. However, employees who skip the vaccinations can be required to pay for their own tests, unless particular union rules prohibit that, per the Wall Street Journal.
  • Penalties: Companies that fail to comply face fines of nearly $14,000 per violation, reports the AP. The fate of employees who don't comply will be decided by their employers.

  • Hierarchy: The federal rules, which affect an estimated 43 million employees, trump conflicting state or local laws, but court and legislative challenges are expected.
  • Exceptions: The rules do not apply to those who work from home or work outdoors. Employees also can request medical or religious exemptions.
  • Opposed: “I don’t think they properly weighed all the risks and benefits of doing this, and are using a shotgun approach and not a scalpel when infections are dropping and vaccinations are already continuing to rise," says Roger Severino, a fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, per the Washington Post. "All the indicators are that the grave danger has passed, to the extent that it even existed in the workplace.”
  • In support: “Low-wage, hourly, and frontline workers have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic," says Rep. Robert Scott, chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor. “Workplace vaccination policies will save lives, protect our economic recovery, and help us finally get things back to normal.”
  • Contractors: Separately, federal contractors also have until Jan. 4 to get vaccinated, as do health workers at hospitals and other facilities that use Medicaid and Medicare, reports STAT News.
(Read more vaccine mandate stories.)

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