President Biden Mandates Vaccine for Federal Workers, Major Jurisdictions Follow Suit

President Joe Biden announced a requirement for all federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or adhere to regular testing and other strict protocols. The requirement is one of the new measures announced aimed to incentivize Americans to get vaccinated and slow the spread of COVID-19. The announcement comes shortly after the Veterans Affairs mandated vaccines for medical employees who work in or visit Veterans Health Administration facilities—a decision supported by numerous medical organizations. In wake of rising positive cases and additional challenges posed by the Delta variant, other major jurisdictions across the country are following suit. 

Conversations of mandating vaccines are rising with many agencies looking to return to in-person work. Under new guidelines announced by Biden in July, as many as seven million federal workers are now required to show proof of vaccination. The state of New York recently announced that all its employees will either have to get vaccinated or submit weekly testing and North Carolina and California are requiring their state employees to do the same. Workers in state hospital systems across the country in states like Massachusetts, South Caroline, North Carolina, and New York face mandatory vaccination mandates as well. 

The spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant and recent surge in cases across the country has made the nationwide push for vaccines more urgent. With the federal government and some private employers requiring workers to show proof of vaccination, some states are moving to stop future vaccine mandates. Nine states have enacted 11 laws with prohibitions on vaccine mandates. The majority of these laws apply only to state and local governments and do not prevent officials from encouraging vaccines, only from requiring it. 

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