In total, approximately 80 million employees will be covered under the mandate. In addition, the Biden administration is getting ready to extend the mandate to include federal workers and federal contractors. 17 million healthcare professionals will also be added to the list if the facilities they work for are funded through the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
“It’s about saving lives”, President Biden said when talking to corporate leaders about the mandate. Over the past few months, vaccination rates have stagnated. At this time, just under 55% of Americans are fully vaccinated. The number has been sitting between 50 and 55% for weeks. Less than two-thirds of Americans have received at least one dose of the approved vaccines, despite supply outstripping demand for months.
At the same time, the Delta variant of the coronavirus has sent infection rates soaring once again. The seven-day average of new infections continues to increase week on week. The most recent figures exceeded 140,000 infections in one week, a 6% increase on the previous week. More than 40 million Americans have suffered from the disease since the start of the pandemic.
The seven-day moving average of deaths is even more staggering. Over the past week, it increased by more than 17% and currently stands at just under 1,500 deaths per day. Most of those deaths would have been preventable by vaccination.
Any business with more than 100 employees will be affected by the Biden mandate. Details are still to be published, but here is what we know so far.
Private entities within the scope of the mandate need to ensure workers are fully vaccinated. Alternatively, employees need to commit to weekly Covid-19 testing. Workers are entitled to time off in order to arrange their vaccinations.
There is currently no time limit on these requirements. As a consequence, businesses may not only need to facilitate vaccinations at short notice. For those continuing to refuse vaccination, employers are obliged to provide continuous testing to keep the rest of the team safe.
According to the plans laid out by the president, federal employees will not be offered a testing option. Health workers will also be required to be vaccinated. Government organizations will therefore need to offer vaccinations in-house or allow workers to make arrangements for vaccinations during working hours.
The plans stretch even further: Biden appealed to the organizers of big events, as well as managers of large venues to consider requiring attendees to be vaccinated.
Employers also have administrative duties. Apart from enabling vaccinations, HR professionals will need to record employee vaccination data for both doses. Depending on the size of the business, this means collecting, storing, and updating vaccine records as more of the workforce is being inoculated.
Should employees choose testing rather than vaccination, the results also need to be safely stored.
The vaccine mandate will keep America’s workplaces safer. At this stage, businesses can plan ahead and prepare. Choose a trusted operator to help you implement those measures and make light work of the requirements for your organization.
TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.