Joe Biden, a convert to mandates, making economic case for shots
Image via AP.

Joe Biden
Biden has emerged as an unlikely advocate of browbeating tactics to drive vaccinations.

President Joe Biden is wielding his weapon of last resort in the nation’s fight against COVID-19, as he champions vaccination requirements across the country in an effort to force the roughly 67 million unvaccinated American adults to roll up their sleeves.

It’s a tactic he never wanted to employ — and had ruled out before he took office — but one that he feels he was forced into by a stubborn slice of the public that has refused to get the lifesaving shots and jeopardized the lives of others and the nation’s economic recovery.

In coming weeks, more than 100 million Americans will be subject to vaccine requirements ordered by Biden — and his administration is encouraging employers to take additional steps voluntarily that would push vaccines on people or subject them to onerous testing requirements.

Forcing people to do something they don’t want to do is rarely a winning political strategy. But with the majority of the country already vaccinated and with industry on his side, Biden has emerged as an unlikely advocate of browbeating tactics to drive vaccinations.

Biden on Thursday takes that message to Chicago, where he will visit a suburban construction site run by Clayco, a large building firm that is set to announce a new vaccinate-or-test requirement for its workforce. The company is taking action weeks ahead of a forthcoming rule by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that will require all employers with more than 100 employees to require that their staffs be vaccinated or face weekly testing for the coronavirus.

White House officials said Biden will encourage other businesses to follow suit, by taking action ahead of the OSHA rule and to go even further by requiring shots for their employees without offering a test-out option.

Biden is also set to meet with the CEO of United Airlines, Scott Kirby, whose company successfully implemented a vaccine mandate — with no option for workers to be tested instead. Less than 1% have failed to comply and risk termination.

But Biden’s mandates have “worked spectacularly well,” said Lawrence Gostin, a public health expert at Georgetown University’s law school. He added that the President’s rules have also had a “modeling effect” for cities, states and businesses. That’s what the White House intended.

U.S. officials began anticipating the need for a more forceful vaccination campaign by April, when the nation’s supply of shots began to outpace demand. But political conditions meant immediate steps to require shots would have likely proved counterproductive.

The idea of mandatory vaccination faced pushback from critics who argue it smacks of government overreach and takes away people’s rights to make their own medical decisions.

So first, officials engaged in a months-long and multibillion-dollar education and incentives effort to persuade people to get the vaccines of their own accord.

It wasn’t enough.

By midsummer, the more transmissible delta variant of the virus was eroding months of health and economic progress and the rate of new vaccinations had slowed to a trickle. Biden’s strategy shifted from inducement to compulsion, with a slow, and deliberate heightening of vaccination restrictions.

“It’s a good political strategy, but it also is a good public health strategy, because once you have a lot of people that have already been vaccinated. then mandates become more acceptable,” Gostin said.

It started with a vaccination requirement for federal frontline health workers serving veterans in VA hospitals. Then the military, followed in steady succession by all healthcare workers reimbursed by the government, all federal workers, and then the more than 80 million Americans who work at mid- and large-size companies.

Nearly 100 million adult Americans were unvaccinated in July — a figure that has been cut by a third since federal, state and private-sector mandates have been imposed.

In conjunction with the President’s trip to Chicago, the White House was releasing a report outlining the early successes of vaccine mandates at driving up vaccination rates and the economic case for businesses and local governments to implement them. It points to everything from reduced employee hours to diminished restaurant reservations in areas with fewer vaccinations, not to mention markedly reduced instances of serious illness and death from the virus in areas with higher vaccination rates.

Millions of workers, the White House notes, say they are still unable to work due to pandemic-related effects, because their workplaces have been shuttered or reduced service, or because they’re afraid to work or can’t get child care.

“The evidence has been overwhelmingly clear that these vaccine mandates work,” said Charlie Anderson, director of economic policy and budget for the White House COVID-19 response team. “And so now, I think it’s a good time to lift up and say, ‘Now’s the time to move, if you haven’t yet.’”

While mandates are the ultimate tool to press Americans to get vaccinated, Biden has resisted — at least thus far — requiring shots or tests for interstate or international air travel, a move that legal experts say is within his powers. But officials said it was still under consideration.

“We have a track record, and I think it’s clear, that shows that we’re pulling available levers to require vaccinations,” said Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 coordinator. “And we’re not taking anything off the table.”

___

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


26 comments

  • Alex

    October 7, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    Yes Republicans.

    The epidemic is much worse and has lasted far longer because you can’t think past your fear and anger at how unfair it is you aren’t in charge.

    Reply

    • Impeach Biden

      October 7, 2021 at 3:53 pm

      More people have died from Covid this year under this debacle of an administration than last year under Trump. Spin that one Alex.

      Reply

      • Alex

        October 7, 2021 at 4:28 pm

        You aren’t asking the right question.

        It should be;
        How many Americans died because Trump sat on his ass for far longer than virtually any other leader in the world despite knowing about (and admitting!) he knew before any other leader, and even then didn’t push masks or vaccinations to his idiot cult?

        Now Democrats have to clean up another epic disaster, and listen to Republicans lie about it.

        I remember how Republicans blamed Obama for the second worst economic disaster in our history, despite the fact he wasn’t gonna be President for two more years.

        Lol

        Yep, this is EXACTLY like that, and you just repeated it like a good little flake.

        Reply

        • Impeach Biden

          October 7, 2021 at 5:17 pm

          Lets see Trump sat on his ass. Who orchestrated “Operation Warp Speed’? This administration has been completely incompetent. With regards to an “epic disaster” I give you the Southern Border and the Afghanistan withdrawal as icing on the cake.

          Reply

          • Alex

            October 7, 2021 at 5:35 pm

            Wa wa wa warp speed.

            If he did such a great job, how come so many of his idiot followers are dying in Buttcrack MS for no fucking reason?

            His results don’t match your bravado.

            Will you ever figure out why I keep wiping the floor with you?

            It’s simple.

            You’re on the wrong side.

          • Ocean Joe

            October 9, 2021 at 12:12 pm

            IB, one of the first things the Trump administration did was to eliminate the pandemic response unit from the NSC. As usual, tearing down government.
            Who can forget states competing with one another for critical supplies?
            And how bout the commander in chief tweeting “Liberate Michigan” and Maryland, to deliberately undermine state efforts to contain the virus.
            His performance cost him the job, as it should have.
            And if you think “Operation Warp Speed” was a success, explain why all these Trumpers refuse to take the Trump vaccine. There is a new kind of stupid in this country, unleashed by your “base.”
            Biden is no prize, but he was the alternative to crazy.

        • Jerry

          October 9, 2021 at 8:01 pm

          Because Republicans don’t believe mandates are the best way to combat a virus that will never go away and 99% of us will survive if we catch it.

          Trump and DeSantis both encourage people to get vaccines. DeSantis rolled that shot out to every corner drug store. But he is NOT going to mandate it. Conservatives don’t support mandates. Period.

          If you want to wear a mask and you want to jab yourself with vaccines that are less than a year old and only effective for a few months, go right on ahead. No one is going to stop you. And those choices should be available to everyone. But the minute you start forcing other people to inject this stuff into their bodies, you better believe you are going to get pushback. Especially since the CDC even admits that vaccine doesn’t work to stop the transmission.

          Reply

          • tjb

            October 13, 2021 at 10:03 am

            Vaccines and masks do help to slow the spread of Covid. Over 718,000 Americans have died from Covid.

            According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a total of 392,393 battle deaths were recorded for the three named wars: World War I, World War II and Vietnam War.
            Just wondering if you could have saved one dead soldier by wearing a mask or taking the shot, would you do it?

  • #FJB

    October 7, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    Fuck Joe Biden

    Reply

    • Alex

      October 7, 2021 at 4:41 pm

      Trump lost.

      LOL

      Reply

      • #FJB

        October 7, 2021 at 4:45 pm

        Yawn. Troll again.

        Reply

        • Alex

          October 7, 2021 at 5:00 pm

          Poor little impotent weenie.

          You suck at trolling.

          Reply

          • Impeach Biden

            October 7, 2021 at 5:18 pm

            You have weenie envy like Kamala.

        • Alex

          October 7, 2021 at 5:38 pm

          Another idiotic comment with no bearing on reality.

          Act your age, and maybe I’ll treat you like an adult.

          Reply

          • Impeach Biden

            October 7, 2021 at 5:58 pm

            You throw childish comments around on a daily basis. I’m just lowering myself to communicate with you

          • Alex

            October 7, 2021 at 9:17 pm

            Reread my last reply

        • Alex

          October 7, 2021 at 6:15 pm

          You can’t argue the ideas and causes logically, so I play in your sandbox and sit on your head whenever I feel like it.

          Reply

          • Impeach Biden

            October 7, 2021 at 7:43 pm

            But your sandbox is full of name calling. You are nothing but a troll and a dumb one at that. After all you did vote for Dementia man right? Fly that banner proudly at your mom’s house.

  • #FJM

    October 7, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    LOL. You say that shit to everybody. Nobody takes you seriously but you.

    Reply

    • Alex

      October 7, 2021 at 5:36 pm

      So why can’t you argue straight up huh?

      Skeered?

      Reply

      • #FJB

        October 7, 2021 at 6:33 pm

        Nah no point in arguing with an arrogant asshole who takes himself that seriously. Waste of time.

        Reply

        • Alex

          October 7, 2021 at 6:40 pm

          Yep, you’re afraid.

          And you’re right to be.

          I eat small minded morons for lunch.

          Reply

          • Impeach Biden

            October 7, 2021 at 7:56 pm

            Keep patting yourself on the back you troll. I’m guessing the only friend you have is that square headed one you stare at every day typing away all of your BS.

          • Alex

            October 7, 2021 at 8:08 pm

            Still mad you had no defense after I called you a racist.

            Yawn

          • Impeach Biden

            October 7, 2021 at 8:18 pm

            You call me a racist and I call you a dumbass. You don’t know me or my friends but Im pretty convinced i got you figured out troll.

          • Alex

            October 7, 2021 at 8:32 pm

            Lol

            Then why do I keep running circles around you racist?

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