US Sets January 4 as Deadline for Vaccine Mandate.
Millions of American workers now have a January 4 deadline to receive a COVID vaccine.
The federal government announced new vaccine requirements Thursday for workers at companies with more than 100 employees, as well as workers at health centers treating Medicare and Medicaid patients. It also extended a deadline for federal contractors.
The Biden administration says that 70% of all adult Americans are now fully vaccinated. The new rules are aimed at the tens of millions who remain unvaccinated.
WHAT DO COMPANIES HAVE TO DO?
Companies with 100 or more employees must require those workers to be fully vaccinated, with two injections of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or one injection from Johnson & Johnson, by January 4. After that date, any employee who remains unvaccinated must provide a weekly verified negative COVID test. Companies are not required to pay for these tests. Unvaccinated employees must also wear masks.
WILL WORKERS HAVE FREE TIME TO GET VACCINES?
Beginning December 5, employers must offer paid time off for workers to get vaccinated and sick leave if workers experience side effects from the vaccine.
HOW WILL THIS BE FULFILLED?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will assist businesses with vaccination plans. It will also enforce the rules. Penalties for non-compliance will vary based on company size and other factors. A business may have to pay up to $ 13,653 for an individual violator or up to $ 136,532 for an intentional violation of the rules.
WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR HEALTH WORKERS?
Health care facility workers treating Medicaid and Medicare patients must be fully vaccinated by January 4. There is no weekly testing option for these workers, but they can apply for religious or medical exemptions. The mandate will cover some 17 million healthcare workers in hospitals, nursing homes, surgical centers and other facilities.
WHAT ABOUT THE FEDERAL CONTRACTORS?
In September, the Biden administration said it would require federal contractor employees to be vaccinated by Dec. 8. On Thursday, the government pushed back that deadline to January 4.