Biden announces stricter protocols for unvaccinated federal workers
President Joe Biden is expected to announce that millions of federal workers must show proof they've received a coronavirus vaccine or submit to regular testing and strict social distancing, masking and travel restrictions.
12 34 Not good. Oh. Mhm. Oh, be very careful Murphy. Yeah. Good afternoon. They want to talk to you about COVID-19 Maybe the best way to start. Is that a significant part of the country? You wouldn't have to take one of these off. You don't have to put one on. Like in my home state of Delaware where I live in New Castle County, where I was yesterday in pennsylvania because people got vaccinated, they got vaccinated. They don't need a mask when you, majority of the vast majority of people got vaccinate. Hello. I want to talk about what really happened, what it means, what it doesn't mean and what we need to do this week in the months ahead for a moment I was elected. I said, I'd always give it to you straight from the shoulder and we need some straight talk right now because there's a lot of fear and misinformation in the country and we need to cut through it with facts with science with the truth. So what's really happening after months and months of cases going down? We're seeing a spike in covid cases going up. Why? Because of this new form, this new variant called the delta variant. This is a much different variants than the one we dealt with previously. It's highly transmissible. It's causing a new wave of cases and those are not vaccinated. Our experts tell me the cases will go up further before they start to come back down. But while cases are on the rise, they're not, we're not likely to see, according to experts, a comparable rise in hospitalizations or deaths in most areas of the country. So I have to ask yourself why is that? Because 164 million Americans are fully vaccinated, including 80% of the most vulnerable our seniors. So there's a challenge. As you knew there could be. But there's also good news. We've spent the last six months preparing for this possibility. The vaccines are highly effective. We have enough vaccine for everyone to get vaccinated. And thanks to the american rescue plan and the hard work of american people, We've administered over 325 million vaccinations doses In the past six months. We have the tools to prevent this new wave of covid from shutting down our businesses and our schools, our society as we saw happened last year. I've said to the beginning that we will be guided by the science. So here's what the science tells us on Tuesday. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC announced its new mass recommendations in parts of the country where covid cases are substantially higher where people didn't get vaccinated, Which they define as 50 new cases For every 100,000 people in a week. The CDC recommends you wear a mask when you're in public and endures like work or in a grocery store. That's true for both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Why? Because even if you've been fully vaccine and protected from severe illness from COVID-19, you could have the delta varied in your system and spread it to someone who isn't vaccinated. You need to wear a mask to protect each other and to stop the rapid spread of this virus as we work to get more people vaccinated. I hope all americans who live in areas with substantial or high case of rates will follow the mass guidance that's being laid down by the CDC. I certainly will that I have because this is one of those areas in Washington and in my decision, my direction, all federal personnel and visitors, two federal buildings. We'll have to do the same thing as I said from the beginning. A mask is not a political statement. It's about protecting yourself and protecting others. Masking is one defense against the spread of COVID-19. Make no mistake. Vaccines are the best defense against you getting severely ill from COVID-19. The very best defense. And you don't want to know how we put this virus behind us. I'll tell you how we need to get more people vaccinated. Look, and it's important to understand what vaccines do and what they don't put. Simply the vaccines are designed to save lives and prevent severe illness. They're highly effective at both. 190 million Americans have had at least one shot Of that group. About 90 are done And 10% are waiting for the second shot. To those folks who have one shot, but not the second. Go get the second shot. Even if you're overdue for the second shot is not too late. Go get the second shot. Now. Now the bottom line is if you're fully vaccinated, You're highly protected from COVID-19. But I also know that many of you who are vaccinated are concerned about was called breakthrough cases. Yes. Some fully vaccinated people will still test positive And some will show some symptoms of COVID-19. That's expected with almost every vaccine there is for other diseases, but breakthrough cases remain rare and almost all are mild cases. In fact, virtually all hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated. I also know many of you are wondering if you need a booster shot to add another layer of protection. As of now, my medical advisers say the answer is no, no. American needs a booster now. But if the science tells us there's a need for boosters, then that's something we'll do and we have purchased the supply, all the supply we need to be ready. If that was called for folks. The truth is, as more people get vaccinated, we are better protected as a nation to continue reopening safely and responsibly. We are not fully out of the woods yet because what is happening in America right now is a pandemic pandemic of the unvaccinated. Let me say that again. It's a pandemic of the unvaccinated. They're about 90 million Americans who are eligible to get the shot. But haven't gotten it yet. As I just mentioned, nearly all of the cases, hospitalizations and deaths Due to COVID-19 today are from unvaccinated people. Last month, the study showed that over 99% of COVID-19 deaths have been among the unvaccinated, 99%. This is american tragedy. People are dying and will die who don't have to die. If you're out there unvaccinated, you don't have to die. Read the news. You see stories about unvaccinated patients at hospitals As a line in bed dying from COVID 19. They're asking doc, can I get the vaccine? The doctors have to say sorry, it's too late. Right now. Too many people are dying watching someone they love dying and saying if I just got vaccinated, if I just, it's heartbreaking, it's complicated you more because it's preventable. America is divided between the majority of eligible people who are vaccinated and those who are not. And I understand that many of you in the majority are frustrated the consequences of the failure of the minority to get vaccinated. But I want you to know I'm going to continue to do everything I can to encourage the unvaccinated to get vaccinated. That includes addressing hesitancy and misinformation head on. For example, I know some of you who are unvaccinated think the development of vaccine was rushed. Therefore I'm not going to take a chance as a result. I think it's not safe because it was rushed. I understand, but let me explain our top scientists, the National Institute of Health, the NIH and across the country got to work applying decades of research, decades of research. I'm repeating decades had already been done the research to develop COVID-19 vaccine when it hit in the last six months, More than 325 million doses. The vaccine of an administrator of the United States and billions of doses administered around the world. The vaccine was developed and authorized under a Republican administration and has been distributed and administered under a democratic administration. The vaccines are safe, highly effective. There's nothing political about, Look at all the people who took a shot at, they later we learned a lot of more already been vaccinated from the start. I have to compliment Republican Senate Minority leader mitch McConnell. He had made it political has encouraged people to get vaccinated and continuing to do so in the states in pretty good shape Alabama. Republican Governor Kay Ivey recently spoke out to encourage vaccination and even the commentators on facts who have been belittling this for a long time. Some haven't, but many have arguing, get vaccinated. Look this is not about red states and blue states, it's literally about life and death. It's about life and death. That's what it's found. You know and I know people talk about freedom but I learned growing up schooling, my parents with freedom comes responsibility. Your decision to be unvaccinated impact. Someone else Unvaccinated people spread the virus, they get sick, fill up our hospitals and that means if someone else has a heart attack or breaks a hip, they may not be a hospital bedroom. Sure. Unvaccinated. You put your doctor nurse is at risk. The same frontline. Essential workers who put their lives on the line over the past year have gone through hell again with freedom comes responsibility so please exercise responsible judgment. Get vaccinated for yourself. The people you love for your country. I'm being literal when I say this as I travel the world almost every day a foreign leader calls me asking, can I fight his or her country More vaccines where people are desperate for vaccines. Doing everything to answer. Those calls were sending millions of vaccines to people around the world and folks, it's an american blessing that we have vaccines for each and every american. We've made it our first and top priority to have available vaccines for every eligible american. And that's never gonna change as long as I'm here. That's a shame. There's just such a shame to squander that blessing. That's why after six months of extraordinary work and effort today, I'm laying out additional steps we should be taking to deliver these lifesaving vaccines. Tomorrow, America first, we're going to provide more incentives to encourage unvaccinated americans to get vaccines that starts with paid leave to get the shot. We're still hearing that people are unable to get time off from their employer to get vaccinated. This is unacceptable. For some time now, I've said it should be able to get the shot and still get paid. Thanks to the american rescue plan, the federal government is fully reimbursing any small or medium sized business that provides workers with paid time off to get vaccinated employers. This cost you nothing. If you haven't given employees paid time off, do it Now. Please today am announcing we're taking this a step further. The federal government will now reimburse those employers to give their staffs to give their staffs time off, not only get themselves vaccinate, but also to get their family members vaccine. That means employers can get reimbursed if they give parents time off with paid time, paid leave to take their kids or their own parents to get back. So I'm calling all employees across the country to give paid time off to get the shot or to help a family member do so. I promise you will cost you the employer and nothing you'll be reimbursed. Secondly, I'm announcing that will continue. The work was to work with states to encourage unvaccinated people to get vaccinated in february. A grocery store chain, Kroger's offered $100 to their associates if they get vaccinated and it worked. Vaccination rates move up from 50%, to 75% among their employees. States like new Mexico Ohio in colorado are offering similar incentive programs that have helped increase vaccination rates. So it's a day I'm calling on all states and local governments to use funding they have received, including from the american rescue plan To give $100 to anyone who gets fully vaccinated. I know the pain people to get vaccinated might sound unfair to folks who have gotten vaccinated already. But here's the deal. If incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them. We all benefit, we can get more people vaccines. But in addition to providing incentives to encourage vaccination, it's time to impose requirements on key groups to make sure they have. Actually, Excuse me. Just this week, we took an important step to protect our veterans. Like many civilian hospital systems are doing, The Department of Veterans Affairs will now require COVID-19 vaccines for doctors and nurses and other health care workers who provide medical care for our veterans. We must do everything possible to protect our veterans from getting covid when they come to get medical care so richly earned serving their country. We owe them next. Since many vaccinations are required for active duty military Today, I'm asking the Defense Department to look into how and when they will add COVID-19 to the list of vaccinations. The armed forces must get our men and women in uniform to protect this country from grave threats. Should be protected as much as possible from getting COVID-19. I think this is particularly important because our troops serving places throughout the world, Many where vaccination rates are low and diseases present next. Every federal government employee will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. Anyone who does not a test where is not vaccinated will be required two mask, no matter where they were. Test one or two times a week to see if they have acquired covid socially distance and generally will not be allowed to travel for work. Likewise, today, directing my administration and take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors. If you want to do business with the federal government, get your workers vaccinate. Look at the Chamber of Commerce representing tens of thousands of american business and National Association of Manufacturers, the business roundtable, which comprised of the largest and biggest corporations in America. All applauding the actions of the federal government is taking and urged them to follow suit. I also commend the National Football League has announced that if there are outbreaks among unvaccinated players and personnel, then the team risked forfeiting games. Are each other sport legs at every level to take every step they can every day. More businesses are implementing their own vaccine mandates. The Justice Department has made it clear That it is legal to require COVID-19 vaccines. We all want our lives to get back to normal and fully vaccinated workplaces. Will will make that happen more quickly and more successful. We all know that our God with incentives and mandates we can make a huge difference and save a lot of lives. I also want to speak to families with Children in school. We can and we must open schools this fall full time. It's better for our Children's mental and emotional well being and we can't afford another year out of the classroom. Every school should be open. We're giving them the tools to be able to do so safely. Even in those areas where they have a higher vaccination, they have a higher rate of covid. Through the american rescue plan, we provided schools, billions of dollars to implement safety measures, better ventilation, social distances and other measures in March, vaccinations are scarce. I prioritize teachers and school workers by utilizing our federal pharmacy program. Almost 90% of educators and school staff are now backstage. Additionally, the CDC has provided clear guidance how all schools can safely protect the kids and bring them back to the classroom. Every student where I'm asked. It's that simple. So we funded safety measures in schools. We vaccinated teachers and staff and we can mask up our kids for further protection. Once again, there's one more thing we need to do. Get more adolescents Ages 12 and up vaccinated now that they've been cleared in the past week, Good news. We've seen The average number of 12-17 year olds getting vaccinated Go increase 22% per day today. I'm asking soldier school districts to host one last pop up vaccination clinic Over the coming weeks for kids ages 12 and up or directing the federal Pharmacy program to help make that happen. Parents get your Children vaccinated, you do it for so many other things right For Kids UNDER 12. If and when the vaccines are deemed safe for them, will be prepared to get the vaccines administered as quickly and as safely as possible. Look and as we work to vaccinate more americans. We're prepared for outbreaks in areas where there are unvaccinated people. My administration has made it clear to every governor, more federal resources available to. This includes deployment of surge teams composed of experts from the CDC and the federal Emergency Management Agency fema. We're going to continue to provide states with more testing treatments, protective equipment, personnel, mobile vaccination clinics to stem the surge of the virus among young unvaccinated pictures of hospitals in several states overloaded with patients is unnecessary, avoidable and tragic. You know, we'll help any health system overloaded and unable to cope with the spike in cases we're ready to do that, Be close to this. If you're at home in vaccines, been anxious or even angry if you're at home and unvaccinated, unbothered and unconvinced, let's step back and see where we are. Just remember how we've emerged from the dark winter into a hopeful spring and summer, but really member just how dark that winter was. Over 3600 Americans were dying each and every day. And now even with the surge among the unvaccinated, We're down to that 300 Americans significant millions of people were out of work, out of homes, how to hope and going hungry. Remember those long lines people in their automobiles waiting for a box of food to be put in the trunk experts and pundits said we couldn't get the vaccines and native we could get the vaccines, we couldn't get in people's arms, couldn't get them vaccinated, they predicted our economy would collapse. Remember how we stayed focused and how we went to work In six months. We've got 164 million Americans fully vaccinated because we vaccinated so many people put in place so many safety measures and God economic help to businesses and people most in need. Our economy is recovering. more than three million Americans are back to work since I was sworn in faster job growth in any previous administration. Any. We're experiencing the fastest economic growth in nearly four decades, the best in the world as of now. In fact, today's GDP numbers show That the first half of the year our economy grew faster than any point in nearly 40 years. Our economy grew More than six months. Most Wall Street forecasters expected for the entire year before we implemented our plan. And just yesterday we announced a bipartisan infrastructure deal that's going to continue this momentum of the long term by making the most significant investment to rebuild America in nearly a century. But we still have to face many challenges. I still have a lot of work to do as we? Re adjust to a post pandemic economy, but we have the right plan. We're coming back. We just have to stay ahead of this virus. I know this is hard to hear. I know it's frustrating. I know it's exhausting to think we're still in this fight. I know. I hope this would be a simple, straightforward line about problems and new challenges. But that is a real life Coming out of the worst public health crisis in 100 years, worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. As I told you before, I carry a card in my pocket, I hope I have it with me. Have carried card in my pocket with a number of Americans dead from COVID-19 as of today, This morning. Total deaths in the United States where 609,000 400 41. Yeah. Brandon Death rate per day is way down. It's down to 400. But that's more death And More War one or two Vietnam 9 11. Iraq in Afghanistan worse combined. This is as tough as it gets. We're americans. We get knocked down. We get back up. That's who we are. That's what we do. That's why there's no nation on earth like us and we're prepared like never before. We have the tools to save lives to keep our economy growing and growing and going After the past six months. Following the science. We know we can dramatically lower the cases in this country. We can do this. We brought our economy back to life and we kept it going. We know we can send our kids back to school. We know we can beat this virus, We can do this. We'll just have to do our part. My fellow americans, this nation has never failed. We have come together as the United States of America. So I say to all those running backs, please please get vaccine and the rest of America. This is no time to be despondent or not. Our God, our garden. We just need to finish the job with science with facts. With the truth. Together as americans, we're gonna be able to beat this. May God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Thank you. How how long do you think it might be necessary to wear mask? And at what point do you think people might have to have a booster shot? Thanks. I said in my talk, the booster shot is not needed now it is possible that will be needed later. I don't know if they don't. The science hasn't dictated that yet. And the first part of the question, I think people might have to wear mask again. Well if you notice a lot of places, people don't have to wear masks, let's get that straight. The places where people have gotten vaccines, we have a high vaccination rate. People do not have to wear mask at all. Like some of you were with me yesterday when I was up in uh Lehigh Valley, didn't have to wear a mask. Don't have to mask. If you come home to Delaware with me, I know you love doing that, but you don't have to wear a mask. The places people are probably going to have to wear masks in those communities where the high rate of unvaccinated stays high and they don't move, they don't move to getting vaccinated. But I think you're gonna find the patience of businesses and the patience of a lot of other people running thin because the fact is if you had high vaccination rates, we wouldn't be in this spot. Right? Yes, that Mr President Mr President, will this set up an american workplace for federal workers and private sector. That really is the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated. And is that a pressure you're trying to harness now? Well, I'm not, look, what I'm trying to do is keep people safe. I mean, this is soon. So if in fact your unvaccinated, you present a problem to yourself, to your family and to those with whom you work. Because it was pointed out, I was asked the question about why would people who have already been vaccinated get it? Well, you got anywhere from 2 to 3% on average. The last study done that can still get covid they don't get very sick. They don't get hospitalized. It's not serious but they can catch it. And the concern is they may be able to pass it on and so that's all being studied right now. But it's important thing is that people are vaccinated. The transmission rate drops through the floor and that's all we're trying to do. Yes. Thank you. Why not push for vaccine mandates? And states, private companies, schools, do you want to see those entities pass vaccine mandates? Well, I'd like to see them continue to move in that direction and that's why I pointed out. I had asked the Justice Department to determine whether that is. They're able to do that legally and they can. Local communities can do that. Local businesses can do that. It's still a question whether the federal government can mandate the whole country. I don't know that yet. The president, you said earlier this week that we are not headed back towards lockdowns. But if the science is evolving, how can you be so confident in that? You heard, we heard you saying weeks ago that the virus was going on? But Dr Fauci has also indicated that we are headed in the wrong direction. Well, uh huh. You're you're literally correct on everything you said, but it doesn't make come to the conclusion. You're implying. It is clear that if everybody's vaccinated, the existing vaccines work to prevent death, serious illness, hospitalization, okay, If so if tomorrow could wave one and every american was vaccinated, then in fact we'd be out of the woods. Now, can something else happen a year from now? Can there be a different virus? Can there be something as possible? Well, I'm talking about covid and the existing variants have come forward so far. So it makes it's a simple proposition. If you're vaccinated, you find yourself in a situation where you are highly unlikely. Even if you somehow get the virus, very small percentage do that. You are not going to be hospitalized, You're not gonna be on a ventilator, you're not going to be sick. But you could be in a position to possibly spread it to someone who wasn't if you have it in you. Yes. Mr. President. Thank you. I wanted to ask why not require that? People show proof that they're vaccinated. And also, if you could just with the four million, how much of an impact do you think this will have if you have a project, the projection on what? How many people will get vaccinated by putting in this system? No, I'm not gonna get in a big business of projecting. I know exactly how many people are likely. All I know is that we go through these periods, then we run up against the wall. Then something happens where people realize, oh my Lord, this is really a problem. And they begin to see things. Look the fact that um a lot of your friends are now saying get vaccinated. Who were before. We're saying it's not a problem. This is a democratic doing their small d the capital date. I mean there's a lot changes. People are becoming aware, they're more aware they become. Then we have these surges of people going out and getting vaccines and it just keeps building. I'm sorry. What about acquiring proof, sir? Well that is there's two ways to do it. And I think you're going to see some institutions doing that. You're gonna fly abroad. You gotta you're going to have to have proof. You're not just going to be able to say I got tested. You got a pride pride proof. My guess is if we don't start to make more progress, a lot of businesses and a lot of enterprises are going to require proof for you to be able to participate. Mr President back and then I'm gonna take off. Surely what further actions are you going to take to encourage private business to follow this type of model to either require vaccines or require testing or other preventative procedures? I just did. I'm going to keep at it. I'm gonna be talking about it around the country. Mhm. To reach out to credit business, meet with them and try and actually encourage them to follow this moment. Well, I have that's why we have folks from the every member of the Chamber of Commerce to the manufacturers, et cetera. So, you know, I am am I going to call a meeting of every business in the country to come to Washington and go on. I have made the case repeatedly. I doubt where there's a single solitary business that doesn't understand that. I think it's smart for them to require testing require and if you if you can't demonstrate you can't prove you've been vaccinated, you have to be tested. Got to look at what Secretary Austin said he was already considering mandating the vaccine after it was fully approved. Would you like to see the mandate going to effect before cool approval? And do you think he's open to that? I know he's open to it. And the question is when is the right time to get the most bang for the book when you do it? A lot of this is timing and so I think it's going to happen. But look, the one thing that you all are being politely and appropriately referencing is that is still a temporary approval. So when does the final approval come? It usually takes a lot of, a lot of work to do. You get there? I made a commitment. I would not tell anyone in the Justice Department who they should prosecute and I would not tell the health industry they the government health entities what they should say and do. But my expectation is there going to reach that conclusion in the early fall. Thank you very much. If you were fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask and it seems and full of action in the area where we do not in May, you made it sound like a magazine with a ticket to losing the mask forever. True at the time, because I thought there were people who aren't going to understand that game vaccinating made gigantic difference. And what happened was new variant came along. They didn't get vaccinated. It was spread more rapidly and people won't. People were getting sick. But people circuit. Yeah. How is the first lady find out. Really fight back question Georgia. Mm But