White House considering requiring 4m federal employees to get Covid vaccines or submit to regular testing

‘If you’re not vaccinated, you’re not nearly as smart as I thought you were’, says president

John Bowden
Tuesday 27 July 2021 23:20
comments
Biden announces recognition of long Covid under ADA

President Joe Biden has confirmed to reporters that the White House is considering a requirement that all federal workers receive a Covid-19 vaccine or submit to regular mandatory testing.

The president made the remarks on Tuesday when asked if a requirement that all federal employees, a number that tops 4.2 million when including the armed forces and Postal Service according to a recent report using data from federal agencies, would be required to get the vaccine.

“That’s under consideration right now”, the president said.

Officials clarified to The New York Times that those who do not wish to be vaccinated would be required instead to be tested regularly for Covid-19, which continued to spread in the US largely as a result of major pockets of unvaccinated individuals.

The Independent has reached out to clarification from the White House as to whether the plans being considered would affect the entire federal workforce.

During his remarks to reporters on Tuesday following an address to employees at the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Virginia, Mr Biden also remarked that those who had yet to be vaccinated were “not nearly as smart as I thought you were”.

The Biden administration writ large has been continuing its effort to convince Americans, especially in areas where scepticism about the jabs is high, to get vaccinated against Covid-19 amid a surge in cases blamed on the Delta variant, which has been reported in all 50 states.

Republican leaders have joined the effort in increasing numbers within the past few weeks, expressing frustration about persistent rates of Covid-19 in their communities which are stressing health care systems and making it more difficult for some businesses to reopen.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey was one of those Republicans who criticised those hesitant to receive a vaccine on Friday, telling reporters bluntly: “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down”.

Former President Donald Trump has faced growing calls for months to tell his supporters more frequently and urgently to get the vaccine, a bizarre sticking point given that it was his administration that launched a federally-backed effort to speed the development of vaccines last year.

Some of his closest allies, such as South Carolina Sen Lindsey Graham, have resorted to dubbing the US-made Covid-19 jabs the “Trump vaccine” in their efforts to convince supporters of the former president to get the shots.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments