WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The president says the government needs to pull out all the stops to boost vaccination rates.
“We have the tools to prevent this new wave of COVID from shutting down our businesses, our schools, our society,” President Joe Biden said.
On vaccinations, Biden and the administration want the federal government to set an example for the rest of the country.
“Every federal government employee will be asked to attest to their vaccination status,” the president said.
“This is a really helpful way to ensure a safe workplace for employees,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Thursday, the president announced federal employees must show proof they’ve received a coronavirus vaccine — or wear masks at work and undergo regular testing.
The president is also pushing state and local governments to put more incentives in place, such as offering $100 to get vaccinated.
“The president must do everything he can to ensure that the administration and federal workers are protected and doing their part to bring down this pandemic,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said.
Murthy says this could influence other companies to establish similar policies.
“You will see likely more of these decisions made by private institutions and I think it’s all part of the steps folks are taking to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 to get us through this pandemic,” Murthy said.
But Republicans, like Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), says the Biden administration is abusing its power.
“President Biden’s talking about mandates for vaccinations for federal employees, and contractors are watching Speaker Pelosi, what happens here, because they know what happens here is gonna come to their homes,” Perry said.
The White House and the president emphasized that this is not a vaccination mandate and those who decide not to get vaccinated are not at risk of termination.