Sweeping new vaccine mandates for 100 million Americans

President Joe Biden speaks during an event to celebrate labor unions, in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, in Washington.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an effort to curb the surging COVID-19 delta variant by increasing vaccinations.

Speaking at the White House, Biden sharply criticized the roughly 80 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated.

“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said, all but biting off his words. The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”

Republican leaders — and some union chiefs, too — said Biden was going too way too far in trying to muscle private companies and workers, a certain sign of legal challenges to come.

Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina said in a statement that “Biden and the radical Democrats ... have declared war against capitalism [and] thumbed their noses at the Constitution.”

AFL-CIO National President Everett Kelley insisted that “changes like this should be negotiated with our bargaining units where appropriate.”

The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

Biden is also signing an executive order to require vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.

Despite more than 208 million Americans having at least one dose of the vaccines, the U.S. is seeing about 300 percent more new COVID-19 infections a day, about two-and-a-half times more hospitalizations, and nearly twice the number of deaths compared to the same time last year.

“We are in the tough stretch and it could last for a while,” Biden said of the current state of the pandemic.

After months of using promotions to drive the vaccination rate, Biden is taking a much firmer hand, as he and his aides blamed people who have not yet received shots for the sharp rise in cases that is killing more than 1,000 people per day and imperiling a fragile economic rebound.

In addition to the vaccination requirements, Biden moved to double federal fines for airline passengers who refuse to wear masks on flights or to maintain face covering requirements on federal property in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Biden announced that the federal government will work to increase the supply of virus tests, and that the White House has secured concessions from retailers including Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger to sell at-home testing kits at cost beginning this week.

The administration was also sending additional federal support to assist schools in safely operating, including additional funding for testing. And Biden will call for large entertainment venues and arenas to require vaccinations or proof of a negative test for entry.

The requirement for large companies to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for employees will be enacted through a forthcoming rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that carries penalties of $14,000 per violation, an administration official said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

(33) comments

Tom Hyland

If the vaccines work then why should you fear the unvaccinated? You've been vaxxed, aren't you safe now? If masks work then why should you fear people not wearing them? Here's some very famous people wearing masks only for the photo op. Check out the accompanying video. https://tinyurl.com/4h7w55tc

Mike Johnson

Wow! I guess lots of nasty, profane talk going on in this thread, who knew?

Jim Klukkert

Yeah Mike, it's sadly true. What stands out to me may remind you of the backlash against the Vietnamese who came to the US during and after that war. As desperate as Afghani refugees may be, seems there are some Americans that refer to them as "collaborators," with us, no less! Other penny pinching citizens decry the pittance NGO's and government agencies shell out for resettlement. I wish those who mind spending were raising their voices when we sent pallets, yes pallets, of crisp, new hundred dollar bills to Iraq in our USAF cargo planes. Oh well, so it goes.

Sadly, we seem to have drifted a long ways from the days of those lines of old...

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Sadly indeed. I have always thought, that for all our flaws, this nation was the best hope for the world. Now I wonder if we have become the last....

Mike Johnson


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Robert Fields

Ryan, if you are going to claim science has been wrong at every turn, please provide verifiable evidence to back that up. You don’t provide any at all.

It’s important to remember that the right was literally fighting mad over the earlier covid restrictions and some cities and politicians were and still are defiant over vaccines, masking and distancing. The first covid waves were plain old covid-19 and the alpha mutation which were bad because little was known about how to fight them. Hospitals quickly filled and people were dying but vaccines came available and so did some effective treatments that made for faster recoveries and reduced deaths. It made sense to back off protections because those with protection from the vaccine didn’t need to worry that much about infected unvaccinated around them. We could let you be you and avoid the huge tantrums while we were mostly safe. It was a relief to not have to worry about people being coughed on, spit on, beat up, or even shot over mask requirements. Unfortunately, that’s all back too.

But the delta mutation changed the balance and shifted it back to covid’s favor. It’s more infectious because it pumps out gobs more virus, plus it’s a little different in that it’s having much more impact in the under 12 age group that can’t yet be vaccinated. And among adults it’s hitting them something like twice as hard however that’s measured. End result is we’re back where we were with full hospitals and lots of people dying.

That’s what changed. We actually were getting covid under control but a more infectious and deadly mutation changed the balance. What’s funny is that it’s the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers who left the door open for it to surge through those populations and fill up hospitals again.

Mutations have always been possible and still are. Anthony Fauci warns about them all the time. If a mutation gives a covid virus an edge (like delta being more infectious) it can dominate and take over bringing along whatever payload it’s carrying.

Yep, things were bad, got looking good, and now are bad again but that’s not Biden’s fault. Had more vaccinated, this more contagious mutation wouldn’t have killed and hospitalized as many as it has. And that is why the push to get more vaccinated. Any new mutations will need to be even more infectious or have some other edge if they are to dominate. Maybe there won’t be another more infectious mutation but there could be. Now with vaccines in the mix, the successful mutation could be one that also evades them. That also may already have happened. The virus isn’t playing around but we seem to be.

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Mike Johnson

Indeed it does make one think, and I am reminded of something C.S. Lewis wrote that rings true today: "My contention is that good men (not bad men) consistently acting upon that position [imposing “the good”] would act as cruelly and unjustly as the greatest tyrants. They might in some respects act even worse. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under of robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some points be satiated; but those who torment us for their own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to heaven yet at the same time likely to make a Hades of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on the level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.'

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Jim Klukkert

Ryan Varela's screeching comment is just beneath any reply, indeed does not merit a second thought.

Laurie Buffer

Please tell me why American citizens should be "forced" to get the "vaccine" and the illegals or undocumented or whatever you want to call them, who are flowing in from the open border and also Afghanistan are not included in Biden's mandate. Yes, it's true ~ they are not covered under Biden's new mandate. Just curious.......

Robert Fields

Nobody is being forced to get the vaccine. Nobody. You will not be held down and given a shot like livestock.

Afghan refugees were allowed to get on planes without vaccinations because it was an evacuation under threat of attack. However, the refugees were all given the option to get the vaccine or not - just as you also have the right of refusal.

Apparently almost all of them are choosing to get the shot(s). We may have to wait a bit for the actual tallies, but first reports make it sound like they opted for the shots in greater percentages than pretty much any community in the US.

Here you go: https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2021/09/07/nearly-all-afghan-refugees-fort-mccoy-accepting-covid-vaccinations/5761561001/

“"I wish we had anything like that in our country right now," Pocan said, alluding to the large numbers of Americans who have declined to get vaccinated.“

What it sounds like is you are confusing being forced to do something vs having a requirement for employment or to attend some function or event, or whatever. Again, as much as many of us would like to, we can’t force you to get the vaccine. We can however choose not to employ you or allow you into our stores, restaurants, or other areas where you can infect others.

It’s too bad you have decided to try to whatabout Afghan refugees into your anti-vax protest, though. These are people who put their own lives on the line to help us and our soldiers, and they are even doing a better job at being citizens already than many here pushing the anti-vax line.

Laurie Buffer

Does this mean they will be deported immediately if they refuse? If I don't get the "vaccine" or agree to be tested every week I will lose my job. Why are the better than me? Oh wait maybe because they are being given free housing, food, money, etc so they don't have a job to lose ~ our tax dollars at work ~ problem solved.......

Robert Fields

Those are people who risked their lives for this country and appear to have an even higher vaccine rate than liberals. Some of the evacuated Afghans were US citizens and after they tested negative, they were done and free to get on with their lives. They are going to be subject to the same minimum requirements as everyone else. You aren’t alone. It’s just the things necessary to control a deadly pandemic.

Doesn’t it make sense for us as a nation to prepare? We’re about to have more dead from covid than the civil war.

Jim Klukkert

Laurie Buffer- I am having trouble sorting out what might be a serious question from the political points you so obviously want to make against those who support suppressing the Virus with masking, social distancing, various Covid protocols and yes, vaccines. Seems like you don't like Afghani refugees, either.

Perhaps you might calm down long enough to clearly state your interests.

On the way to calming down, you might want to do a little research on the "free housing, food, money, etc" you claim is being given to the folks who often risked their lives to help Americans and other foreign nationals that occupied their country for the last 20 years. Much of the support these refugees will be getting will come from private charitable resettlement organizations. Your tax dollars not at work, hope you are not disappointed.

Folks I know in resettlement agencies tell me there is not much currently available for refugees. For example, 5 day cultural adjustment classes have been shortened to a 3 hour Zoom meeting. Another told me that some families get a $5000 grant Good luck with that if you are renting an apartment in an urban area, and have to pay two months rent up front. Not much left to buy food or anything else. Sounds like those folks will be scrambling to find a job right quick. Sounds like problem not solved...

As to your question "Why are the[y] better than me?" That's anybody's guess, but perhaps that refugees have seen some really, really tough times, and are so appreciative of the smallest gesture, makes refugees a touch better that the Americans who assume their immense privileges to be sacred and untouchable.

But like I said, just a guess. Hopefully, I will never know.

Jim Klukkert


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Robert Fields

While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both using new technology, it’s not that new. It’s been under development for many years. mRNA vaccines have undergone extensive testing. Before anyone in the general public got them, they had also been tested on lots and lots of humans. If we go ahead and call the public deployment “testing” to humor you, the Pfizer and Modena vaccines have now been “tested” on over half the US population.

And sure, there have been some deaths but very, very few and those are deaths from all causes out of an abundance of caution - and it’s still very, very few. Some were allergic reactions. Some were heart attacks. Some were brain hemorrhages. Those all sound very scary so it’s that much more important you know how to compare and evaluate risk.

Contrast those with covid where the current stats give those who get covid a 1 in 60 chance of dying and those non-vaccinated covid deaths are what is now pushing the US to 700,000 covid deaths when before delta it didn’t look like we were going to hit 650,000. Others lay in the ICU in drug-induced sleep or coma with tubes down their throats as their lungs scar so bad they will need lung transplants to survive. One in a million or one in 60? Can you not tell the difference?

If I was betting my life - and I did - I would really, I mean really really, want to understand how the risks of getting vaccinated compared with the risks of not getting vaccinated. Your odds of dying unvaccinated almost make it worth taking out life insurance policies on the lot of you.

No, Joe, it’s not us drinking the kool-aid. It’s the unvaccinated who don’t even realize they’ve not only been lied to, they’ve been left to die by their vaccinated misleaders.

You, however, are putting your entire stake on the bad horse, my friend. Worse, you are encouraging others to make that same ill-advised bet.

You know who is getting lied to? You are. Trump and his ghoulish wife both got vaccinated - privately and without cameras. All republicans in the senate are vaccinated. The Fox hosts that bellyache continuously about “muh raghts”? Yep - all vaccinated.

Your leaders got vaccinated but they don’t dare tell you because as Trump himself discovered, encourage vaccination and you get booed. I believe Alabama was Trumpks first and last attempt to float that balloon.

Wake up America. But more specifically, wake up anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers. You were duped, used, and lied to because it was politically expedient. Now, your own misleaders are tied to that anchor. You guys swallowed the hook. But it’s not your leaders whose lives are in danger. It’s yours. If they honestly cared about you they wouldn’t just walk away like Trump did.

JB Weinberg

I just don't understand the argument against requiring vaccines against a deadly disease. We all had to have a slew of vaccines in order to attend school. If you traveled overseas in the last century and early in this century, you had to have a smallpox vaccine, and for much of the world, a polio vaccine was recommended. I traveled to Central America, where yellow fever, typhus and cholera vaccines were recommended and which I took. I did not contract any of these dreaded and often deadly diseases. I took medication to prevent malaria. And back in the 18th century, George Washington made his troops take the small pox inoculation. Soldiers today get many more immunizations. 40-50% of adults get flu shots every year. People refusing to be vaccinated against COVID are selfish and illogical. They are a danger to others, including their own children and other loved ones. They are a threat to their coworkers and to the health of their communities. They are also a threat to the well-being of the economy. Here are some paragraphs from an analysis about the vaccine mandate and the economy published in the NY Times: "WASHINGTON — President Biden’s aggressive move to expand the number of vaccinated Americans and halt the spread of the Delta variant is not just an effort to save lives. It is also an attempt to counter the continuing and evolving threat that the virus poses to the economy. Delta’s rise has been fueled in part by the inability of Mr. Biden and his administration to persuade millions of vaccine-refusing Americans to inoculate themselves against the virus. That has created another problem: a drag on the economic recovery. Real-time gauges of restaurant visits, airline travel and other services show consumers pulled back on some face-to-face spending in recent weeks." and... "The explosion of new cases and deaths also appears to have deterred many would-be workers from accepting open jobs in businesses across the country, economists say. That comes as businesses and consumers are complaining about a labor shortage and as administration officials pin their hopes on rising wages to power consumer spending in place of fading government support for distressed families." Here is the link to the entire analysis: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/09/us/politics/biden-vaccines-economy.html

Be a good neighbor. Get vaccinated.

Robert Fields


Mike Johnson

You make many good points here. I also had to have a ton of vaccinations and medications as I traveled to over 57 countries during my career. I mean "had to" because without them I could not have the job I had, because many countries would not allow you in if you did not have them. My International Certificates of Vaccination Card, by the WHO, had as many pages and entries as my passport, you had no choice if you wanted to earn the big bucks. I always get a flu shot, and all the other things like shingles, pneumonia, etc. I was anxiously awaiting getting the COVID shot, it took a while, but finally they called me. At first it was wonderful to be fully vaccinated, you could go anywhere and do anything and not have to struggle to breathe and hear others as no masks were required. Then the world changed. Suddenly being vaccinated was not important, you had to be treated and punished the same as the unvaccinated, had to wear a mask, because we were told, we had to protect the unvaccinated, which as you mention are idiots (excluding kids under 12, but I have not been near one of those in many years) to begin with, so now I am REQUIRED to protect them! Also, of course, we were told the vaccines are not 100%, but if you wear a mask, it is.....right. It is no wonder Biden cannot convince the unvaccinated, this has been a political mess from the beginning. Most responsible companies (including the ones I have any influence over) require vaccinations, period. They all should, IMO, but when a politician orders people to do as he says, it s a formula for disaster, and that is what has been happening, and it will now be played out in the courts, providing even more problems and delays. And of course many look at the morbidity rates of 1.6% (according to CDC today), and we know that is overstated as many more people than we know have had the disease, so how deadly is it in context to other ways to die? People are making their choices, Biden's and MLG's orders or not.

Robert Fields

I don’t recall the world changing where being vaccinated wasn’t important. Must have missed that. Here in reality, it’s been important even before the vaccines became available and has been important ever since. Every time Biden, Fauci, or anyone involved in fighting covid has spoken, they say like a drumbeat - get vaccinated.

Facts again, Mike. Unvaccinated are covid factories that can even infect vaccinated who can rarely, but still can, die. They certainly can easily infect others who aren’t vaccinated. Unvaccinated people are a risk to have around. It makes sense, doesn’t it? You want someone where you work shooting bullets in random directions and occasionally hitting someone? That’s not a bad comparison except the bullets don’t hit immediately, are harder to attribute but still can be through contact tracing, and it takes a little longer for the victims to die.

Oh, that 1.6% number you take issue with - don’t forget that there’s all sorts of testing so that net may be wider than you think. It’s not just people showing symptoms who are tested.

At any rate, are you going to deny that hospitals are full or filling as delta spreads and that almost 700,000 Americans have died from covid? That’s well over the American lives lost during all the years of WWII condensed into a year and a half. 58,220 Americans died in the 20 years of Vietnam. We’re over 11 times that in covid deaths.

So maybe the 1.6% rate is a little overstated but it still paints a very clear picture - covid is killing people and those who refuse to vaccinate are a clear risk to others.

Joseph Tafoya

The one thing that COVID-19 has exposed is how fragile our Constitutional Rights are. Could you ever imagine that one President and/or 50 Governors could possess so much power without due process? I ask why is it that a mentally ill individual cannot be put in an institution against his will? Because it violates his rights, but yet the government can inject a chemical into your body against your will and it's not violating your rights? Something is not right. These powers should have a sunset rule that can be overridden by Congress or the legislatures of the individual states.

Jim Klukkert

Joseph Tafoya- You greatly exaggerate the threat to our Constitutional Rights.

Additionally, those folks refusing to vaccinate, violate My Right to a Safe Environment, protected, as well as can be, against the spread of the Coronavirus.

We will not be forced to accept the vaccinations. Instead, each individual can chose to accept a vaccination, or can chose to withdraw from public areas that require participants to be vaccinated. Those public areas might include places of employment, entertainment, medical care or government, among others.

Places that provide products or services fundamental to survival, will need to find ways to deliver those products or services. Delivery by courier or pick-up at the curb, come to mind.

Basically Sr. Tafoya, one is only allowed in public areas if one is willing to commit to what the overwhelming majority of the medical professionals, scientists and the public view as safe practices: vaccination. It's really simple: no one cannot force us to share and thus pollute what should be common safe spaces with people that do not take the steps that best assure a covid-free environment. If one will not take that one simple step, accepting a vaccine, please go away and stay away.

Thank you!

Robert Fields


Robert Fields

To vaxx or not to vaxx. That’s even a question?

Simple two question multiple choice test…

1) I’m more likely to get covid if I (do / don’t) wear a mask?

2) I’m more likely to be hospitalized and die from covid if I (do / don’t) get the vaccine?

Let’s tell them what they are playing for, Johnny!

Johnny: Sure thing! Our contestants are playing for their own lives and the lives of their friends and families! They are choosing between full hospitals with overworked staff that can’t take care of anyone else, and hospitals with normal case loads! They are choosing between mountains of medical bills and even funeral costs, and getting a free (yes, free!) vaccination!

But wait, there’s more! Contestants that choose to vaccinate and wear masks also help their communities stay open for business and protect the lives of everyone! They also get to be proud of doing their part for their town, their state, and their country!

Well, Johnny, that sure sounds simple to me. Let’s see how our contestants do!

Jim Klukkert


Mike Johnson

If Biden tries to force private businesses to require vaccines or testing under OSHA rule making, he will face a tidal wave of lawsuits and most likely a quick injunction to stop it as they all wind their way to SCOTUS, where he will lose.

Dan Chase

Well I say we do the opposite…I’m vaccinated and will risk getting Covid from one of these idiots that refuse the vaccine so long as they continue to drop off. It’s called survival of the fittest or smartest actually!

Robert Fields

This is the part that astounds me. It’s a pretty amazing rejection of science and medicine. Instead of leeches and garlic poultices, they eat horse dewormer and malaria and autoimmune suppression drugs, and ingest a whole host of other really weird and useless but dangerous cures they read about on some right wing crackpot website or on facebook.

Their leaders, thought leaders, and influencers all advocate for drugs and behaviors that make them vulnerable to sickness and death if the “cures” themselves don’t make them sick or kill them. How can they look at places with high vaccination and mask rates with very low case and death counts and say that’s not how to do it when their own hospitals are overflowing and their friends and families are dying? Yvette Herrell was in the news recently pushing for ivermectin as the cure when it’s already shown to have no effect. We know why Rand Paul pushes it - his wife bought stock in the company.

If it wasn’t for the children and others they infect who can’t get vaccinated, it would be comical. It still amazes me they are so adamant about choosing to do things that put them and their families in real danger. It could be the first virus in history to predominantly kill members of a particular political party. And to tell the truth, after one of my own relatives got delayed medical care for an acute condition because her hospital was full of unvaccinated covid patients, if it wasn’t for the vaccinated with complicating factors and for children, I’d just say to hades with them. At least they bear the brunt of consequences from their behaviors and are doing their parts to raise the collective IQ of the country.

It should be noted by the anti-vaxxers that their high up leaders of their anti-vax movement are all themselves vaccinated. Trump is. Rand Paul is. All republican senators are. The Fox “news” hosts are all vaccinated, etc. I wonder why that is?

Stefanie Beninato


Tom Hyland

If you've been vaccinated for covid19 then how can you get the virus from someone that isn't vaccinated? Does your vaccine work or not? Why did you take the shots?

Richard Reinders

We are already having trouble getting mail, service at a restaurant, products in a store when a percentage quits over this it will get worse as well as other government services. Doing business in the future will make sitting at DMV all day look like a walk in the park. When you extort or strong arm people they dig in, not sure this approach is going to work. Just for clarity I am not an anti vaxxer.

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