Biden will announce that all federal workers MUST get the vaccine or be tested regularly - while the CDC says 'health passes' may be the way forward

 President Joe Biden is expected to announce on Thursday that all federal employees and contractors be vaccinated against Covid-19, or undergo regular testing, as he steps up measures to tackle the pandemic.

He is due to deliver a speech setting out the administration's next steps in increasing vaccination rates around the country as officials battle the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

Meanwhile the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 'health passes,' such as those used in Europe may have a role in helping people gather safely.

On Tuesday, Biden said mandatory vaccination was 'under consideration' for all federal workers.

Officials insist a final decision has not yet been taken but Dr Irwin Redlener, Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, said the signs were clear.

'I think we are seeing these trial balloons going up from the White House that this is coming,' he said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has already announced it will require frontline health care workers to be vaccinated over the course of the next two months. 

White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jeanne-Pierre said vaccination requirements could vary from department to department withing the government. 

President Biden arrived in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday where reporters asked whether he was considering mandatory vaccines for military personnel. He did not answer

President Biden arrived in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday where reporters asked whether he was considering mandatory vaccines for military personnel. He did not answer

Biden is due to set out his administration's next steps in getting more Americans vaccinated on Thursday, when he is expected to announce mandatory vaccinations - or a testing and mitigation regimen - for all federal staff and contractors to rein in the surging Delta variant

Biden is due to set out his administration's next steps in getting more Americans vaccinated on Thursday, when he is expected to announce mandatory vaccinations - or a testing and mitigation regimen - for all federal staff and contractors to rein in the surging Delta variant

The Delta variant is blamed for surging numbers of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., triggering a range of new measures to halt its spread

The Delta variant is blamed for surging numbers of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., triggering a range of new measures to halt its spread

Biden considering vaccine mandate for ALL federal employees
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'Our goal as a federal employer is to keep our employee safe and to also save lives - that is the number one goal that we have here,' she told reporters aboard Air Force One as the president traveled to Pennsylvania.

'While no decision has been finalized I will say that the attestation of vaccination for federal employees is one option under strong consideration... which means confirming vaccination status or abiding by stringent COVID-19 protocols, like mandator mask as wearing masks even in communities not with high or substantial spread, and regular testing.' 

She was speaking a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should go back to wearing masks indoors in regions where infections were on the rise.

The moves illustrate how far the nation is from the 'summer of freedom' that Biden promised just last month. 

Redlener said the 'retrograde' steps reflected how scientists were reacting to new data that showed the danger of the Delta variant.

'Predicting what is going to come next, even a month from now, is very hard,' he said. 

Another possible option might be 'heath passes,' which are being used in some parts of Europe to offer proof of vaccination and allow people to gather.

In an interview  with CNN, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky did not rule out the idea. 

'I think some communities are doing that,' she said. ;And that may very well be a path forward.'

However, she warned they may offer a false sense of security if, as new evidence appears to show, asymptomatic, vaccinated people can transmit the Delta variant. 


Biden said mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for federal workers were 'under consideration' during a visit to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in McLean, VA, on Tuesday

Biden said mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for federal workers were 'under consideration' during a visit to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in McLean, VA, on Tuesday

He denied that changing official advice was causing confusion and instead said it was the unvaccinated who were to blame for rising levels of infection

He denied that changing official advice was causing confusion and instead said it was the unvaccinated who were to blame for rising levels of infection 

Biden was asked about mandatory vaccinations for federal employees during a visit to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

'That's under consideration right now,' he said, 'but if you're not vaccinated you're not nearly as smart as I thought you were.'

He added that masking and vaccination were the best way to avoid a repeat of the lockdowns the country endured last year.    

'The more we learn about this virus and the Delta variation the more we have to be worried and concerned,' he said.

'And the only thing we know for sure, if those other 100 million people got vaccinated we'd be in a very different world.'

In the meantime the White House released a statement in which Biden said he would be laying out the 'next steps' in getting more Americans vaccinated on Thursday.

'By following the science, and by doing our part by getting vaccinated, America can beat COVID,' he said.

'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.' 

But officials know that vaccine mandates come with a risk.

A day earlier, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: 'The president certainly recognizes that he is not always the right voice to every community about the benefits of getting vaccinated, which is why we have invested as much as we have in local voices and empowering local, trusted voices.'

On Tuesday, as the CDC was preparing to issue its guidance, Psaki said vaccinated people should wear masks indoors to protect their loved one.

'We're not saying that wearing a mask is convenient, or people feel like it, but we are telling you that that is the way to protect yourself protect your loved ones and that's why the CDC is issuing this guidance,' she said.    

The White House is preparing to return to wearing masks again if required by the new federal guidance and rising rates of COVID-19, she added. 

Within a matter of hours that was the case. 

The new guidance set a threshold for masking at 50 cases per 100,000 people, based on a seven-day rolling average. In Washington the number was over 63 on Tuesday afternoon.

As a result Vice President Kamala Harris's office told reporters to mask up as they arrived to cover her meeting with Native American leaders to discuss voting rights, and signs were going up in the James Brady Briefing Room informing people they would have to use face coverings even if fully vaccinated. 

Critics have accused infectious disease experts of flip-flopping on their guidance.

But Psaki said the Delta variant had upended the scientific thinking since masking requirements were relaxed.

'That is their job,' she said.

'Their job is to look at evolving information, evolving data, an evolving historic pandemic and provide guidance to the American public.'

Biden will announce that all federal workers MUST get the vaccine or be tested regularly - while the CDC says 'health passes' may be the way forward Biden will announce that all federal workers MUST get the vaccine or be tested regularly - while the CDC says 'health passes' may be the way forward Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 10:28 Rating: 5

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