President Biden is said to be seriously considering new requirements for federal employees to help stop the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus.
A source familiar with the deliberations told NPR’s Tamara Keith that an option is being considered: using a vaccination certificate to verify that federal employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The source, who asked not to be named, said that according to the policy, federal employees who have not been confirmed to be vaccinated must always wear masks at work and be tested regularly for the virus.
Reporters asked Biden on Tuesday whether he was considering granting vaccine authorizations to federal workers. “It’s under consideration right now,” he replied.
Biden said in a statement that he will develop the next steps on how to vaccinate more Americans on Thursday, and pointed out that vaccines are the best way to prevent delta variants.
“More vaccinations and mask-wearing in the areas most impacted by the Delta variant will enable us to avoid the kind of lockdowns, shutdowns, school closures, and disruptions we faced in 2020,” he said.
The president’s statement was issued after the revised guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. The CDC has changed its position, recommending that people who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask indoors if they are in a place where the virus is spreading largely.
Added Biden in his statement: “I hope all Americans who live in the areas covered by the CDC guidelines will follow it; I certainly will when I travel to these areas.”
The delta variant is at least twice as infectious as the strain originally circulating in the United States and is the driving force behind a surge in new cases across the country. “This was not a decision that was taken lightly,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said of the updated guidelines on Tuesday, but Walensky said the agency must take into account the increase in cases and data shows that although this is rare, people who are vaccinated can still infect and spread the virus.
“The delta variant is showing every day its willingness to outsmart us,” she said.
On Monday, the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it will require all frontline medical staff to be vaccinated within the next two months. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all city workers need to be vaccinated or tested. Virus once a week. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a similar policy for state employees and health care workers. CDC now also recommends that all K-12 school teachers, staff, students, and visitors, regardless of immunization status, use universal indoor masks.