White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeffrey Zients announced Monday that it’s “time to impose some requirements on COVID-19 vaccines.
“Last week the president called on states and local governments to use funding they have received, including from the American Rescue Plan, to give $100 to anyone who gets fully vaccinated,” he said during a briefing, adding, “if financial incentives like these help us get more shots in arms, we should use them.”
But he went a step further and said that there must be mandates.
“But in addition to incentives, it’s time to impose some requirements based on the realities of different risks unvaccinated individuals pose versus those who have been vaccinated,” Zients proclaimed.
The official confirmed that a federal worker or contractor who is not vaccinated has to wear a mask and get COVID-19 tests one or two times per week.
“It’s simple, if you want to work with the federal government, get your workers vaccinated,” Zients said.
Last week, President Joe Biden indicated that the federal government was seeking confirmation on whether the entire United States has to be mandated to get COVID-19 vaccines. A number of large corporations as well as municipalities like New York City have recently imposed vaccination mandates.
When speaking about Google and Facebook announcing vaccine mandates for employees, Biden said that “I would like to see them continue to move in that direction,” while adding that “it’s still a question whether the federal government can mandate the whole country.”
“I don’t know that yet,” Biden added.
Authorities and media pundits in recent days have been pushing for more and more vaccination or masking mandates amid the Delta COVID-19 variant, while either ignoring or downplaying studies about “natural immunity.” Federal health officials said that the Delta variant makes up the majority of new COVID-19 infections.
On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, announced that the city will force restaurants, gyms, and theaters to not allow unvaccinated people into their venues. New York City is now the first U.S. city to impose such a requirement.
The mayor said in a news conference, “It will require vaccination for workers and customers in indoor dining, in indoor fitness facilities, indoor entertainment facilities.”
“The only way to patronize these businesses indoors is if you’re vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “If you want to participate in society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated.”
Vaccine passport-type systems have been flagged by civil liberties groups as a possible violation of individual privacy rights. When a “health pass” law was proposed and later passed in France, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest against it.