To protect lives, the economy, and national security from the resurgent coronavirus, President Joe Biden yesterday announced multiple measures to vaccinate more Americans:
- All federal employees must get vaccinated for covid-19 within 75 days.
- All federal contractors and subcontractors must require employees to get vaccinated for covid-19 and follow other guidance of the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force to be published within two weeks and implemented by October 8.
- All workers in firms with 100 employees or more must get vaccinated for covid-19 or submit to covid testing at least once a week. Their employers must provide paid time off for employees to get those shots and, if necessary, to recover from vaccine side-effects.
- All workers in hospitals, home health care facilities, and other medical facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding must get vaccinated for covid-19. President Biden made the same rule for nursing home workers three weeks ago.
- All Head Start teachers must get vaccinated for covid-19.
President Biden announced numerous other actions to fight the pandemic that certain recalcitrants have chosen to prolong—invoking the Defense Production Act to make more covid tests; working with Walmart, Amazon, Kroger’s, and other retailers to sell at-home rapid covid test kits at cost for three months; expanding free testing at 10,000 pharmacies; spending $2 billion to support free testing at community health centers, food banks, and schools; doubling TSA fines on travelers who refuse to wear masks; quadrupling the amount small businesses can borrow from the Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program from $500,000 to $2 million; doubling the number of military health teams assisting with covid treatment at U.S. hospitals; making available 50% more free monoclonal antibody treatments—but naturally, vaccines provoke the loudest response from conservatives who’ve chosen to make pandemic response a political football. Governor Kristi Noem, not eager to fight coronavirus but happy to fight anyone else who fights it, swiftly ran to her video bunker to tell Fox News she’ll fight the President’s vaccine requirements in court.
But let’s stop right there. For all of our Governor’s knee-jerk screaming about Freedom™ and governmental overreach, President Biden has shown a lot of restraint. President Biden tried it Noem’s way. In the face of a deadly pandemic, President Biden let Noem’s experiment run for eight months. He trusted the American people to do the right thing without any vaccine mandate. The President and the Governor were right about the majority of Americans: we got in line, rolled up our sleeves, and got our shots (not to mention masking and keeping our distance), bringing a quick reduction of the number of Americans coronavirus was putting in the hospital and the grave each day.
But too many Americans didn’t get vaccinated. Too many Americans followed Governor Noem’s example of turning public health into a political shouting match, turning resistance to science and a refusal to look out for one’s neighbor into a badge of honor. Due to that resistance and irresponsibility, we are seeing infections, hospitalizations, and deaths increase. We are seeing hospitals have to ration care. We are seeing the economy slow back down. We’ve seen Noem’s experiment in letting nature and human nature take their course do real harm.
When Muslim terrorists killed 2,977 people on September 11, 2001, we locked down air travel, barricaded buildings, and suspended all sorts of civil liberties, not to mention waging war that cost $8 trillion. As of right now, coronavirus has killed 656,447 Americans. That’s over 220 times the 9/11 death toll, and more 9/11s are coming. We can stop those covid 9/11s far more easily and with far less collateral damage than we can stop radical Islamic terrorism. We can all get a free, safe, and effective shot, save thousands of lives and jobs, and not kill a single person in the process.
But Kristi Noem wants to make a federal case out of requiring vaccines to stop a deadly pandemic.
The President didn’t want to require vaccines, but, Governor Noem, and your followers and your successful reawakening of the pandemic demand that he take action to reverse this harm. President Biden is behaving responsibly and within his authority as the Commander in Chief to protect our nation’s public health and economic security. Workers, roll up your sleeves and get those shots.
Related Reading: President Biden is asking everyone who isn’t subject to the new requirements to join the rest of us patriots and get their shots:
And my message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We’ve made vaccinations free, safe, and convenient.
The vaccine has FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot.
We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So, please, do the right thing. But just don’t take it from me; listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying, “If only I had gotten vaccinated.” “If only.”
It’s a tragedy. Please don’t let it become yours [President Joe Biden, remarks from the White House, 2021.09.09].