President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that all Federal employees must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or they will be forced to submit to regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel.
Mr. Biden’s announcement of new mandates in a pleading speech was part of an attempt to reset expectations on the health scourge that just weeks ago he thought he had under control. On July 4, the White House celebrated the national holiday as a day of “independence from Covid-19.”
Biden said he was also directing the Department of Defense to looking into how and when they will add COVID-19 vaccination to the list of required vaccinations for members of the military, according to a fact sheet that was release to reporters.
“Our men and women in uniform who protect this country from grave threats should be protected as much as possible from getting COVID-19,” Biden said. “I think this is particularly important because our troops serve in places throughoutthe world, many where vaccination rates are low and disease is prevalent.”
He also addressed the Department of Veteran Affairs announcement earlier this week that it would mandate the vaccine for its doctors and nurses, comparing the decision to several major hospital systems.
“We must do everything possible to protect our veterans from getting covid when they come to get medical care, they so richly earned serving their country. We owe them,” he said.
“We all want our lives to get back to normal, and fully vaccinated workplaces will make that happen more quickly and more successfully,” Mr. Biden said, speaking in the East Room. “We all know that in our gut. With incentives and mandates, we can make a huge difference and save a lot of lives.”