S. E. Williams

Two major vaccination policies announced by President Joe Biden on November 4, will strengthen the fight against COVID-19 despite continued, loud resistance from the right.  

“Any elected Republican not standing against vax mandates is in bed with some donor special interest and every single one of them deserve to be called out, primaried, defeated and unseated,” posted inland resident Tomi Lahren to twitter. “I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that happens. Let’s go Brandon.”

The phrase, Let’s go Brandon, is a euphemism used by those on the far right meant as an expletive insult to the president.

Recent Anti-vaccination mandate tweet posted by resident Tomi Lahren. (source: twitter.com

Their insults and resistance, however, has not slowed presidential efforts to curtail and control the deadly coronavirus and the recent national vaccination rate shows the president’s focus on this issue continues to yield results. When he took office in January, less than one percent of the nation’s adults were vaccinated compared to 70% who are fully vaccinated today. Last Thursday, Biden took another assertive step to further increase vaccination rates nationwide.

Under these newly announced Occupation and Safety Health Administration (OSHA), and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rules, more than two-thirds of all workers in America are covered by vaccination guidelines.

The two new policies are expected to drive even more progress in the fight against the pandemic, “and result in millions of Americans getting vaccinated, protecting workers, preventing hospitalization, saving lives, and strengthening the economy,” the administration highlighted in a White House press release.

History of vaccination mandates

A report by the administration detailed the history of mandatory vaccinations in America dating back to 1777, when George Washington ordered small pox inoculations for all soldiers under his command.  

The report cites several other examples of vaccine directives including a contemporary experience in California between 2017 and 2019 where some counties introduced flu vaccination requirements for all workers in licensed health care facilities while other counties did not. A study compared health outcomes in counties before and after they adopted these requirements compared to counties in the state with no requirements over the same period.

The study ultimately determined the counties with flu vaccine requirements increased the vaccination rate of health care workers by 10 percentage points, from 74% to 84%, and reduced the number of inpatient influenza diagnoses by 20%.

Flu Vaccine Requirements for Healthcare Workers Reduced Hospital-Acquired Infections in California

(source: whitehouse.gov)

New Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements

New Vaccination Requirement for Employers With 100 or More Employees under OSHA’s  COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requires employers with 100 or more employees to:

·         Get Their Employees Vaccinated by January 4th and Require Unvaccinated Employees to Produce a Negative Test on a weekly basis

·         Pay Employees for the Time it Takes to Get Vaccinated

·         Ensure All Unvaccinated Employees are Masked

·         Employers are subject to requirements for reporting and recordkeeping as detailed in OSHA materials available here

The testing requirement for unvaccinated workers will begin after January 4, 2022. Employers must comply with all other requirements such as providing paid time for employees to get vaccinated and masking for unvaccinated workers beginning December 5, 2021. 

New Vaccination Requirements for Health Care Workers

CMS Is requiring all workers at health care facilities participating in Medicare or Medicaid to receive all the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated—either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson—by January 4, 2022.  

The CMS rule  covers approximately 76,000 health care facilities and more than 17 million health care workers. This includes most health care workers in the country, and according to the Administration, will enhance patient safety in health care settings.

“The rule applies to employees regardless of whether their positions are clinical or non-clinical and includes employees, students, trainees, and volunteers who work at a covered facility that receives federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid,” Biden’s team affirmed adding, “It also includes individuals who provide treatment or other services for the facility under contract or other arrangements.”

(facebook.com)

Facility types covered by the rule include hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dialysis facilities, home health agencies, and long-term care facilities. 

In a statement President Biden confided, “While I would have much preferred that requirements not become necessary, too many people remain unvaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic for good.”

Judging from social media posts, just as the president is determined to defeat COVID, there are those in the inland region and elsewhere who continue to disagree with his approach.  As recently posted by Dick Hoss to The Republican Party of Riverside’s Facebook page, “My family and I are on permanent strike, none of our children will be attending public school, not only for the mandates but the hateful demonization of my race and ancestors with CRT (Critical Race Theory).”

S.E. Williams

Stephanie Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News. A longtime champion for civil rights and justice in all its forms, she is also an advocate for government transparency and...