Biden Defends Vaccine Mandates as GOP Criticizes New Rules for Businesses, Workers

Ellison Lynch

President Biden defended his sweeping new set of vaccination mandates to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, as businesses worked to understand the rules and Republicans attacked them as government overreach.

Mr. Biden and first lady Jill Biden traveled Friday morning to Brookland Middle School, 4 miles northeast of the White House. Responding to GOP criticism, he said that scientists supported his plans, and that Republicans who have fought against mask rules and other pandemic restrictions were being “cavalier” with the health of children and their communities. “We`re playing for real here. This isn`t a game,” Mr. Biden said.

On Thursday, Mr. Biden unveiled his new approach to Covid-19, requiring vaccinations for employees of many private-sector businesses, healthcare personnel and federal contractors. The rules would apply to roughly 100 million workers, or two-thirds of all workers in the U.S. As of Friday, nearly 65% of the U.S. adult population was fully vaccinated.

Mr. Biden`s six-part plan, which also includes efforts to improve access to testing and make Covid-19 treatments more widely available, comes amid a surge in infections and an increase in hospitalizations and deaths, the vast majority of them among the unvaccinated.

The coronavirus has killed more than 655,000 Americans, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with the recent seven-day average of reported deaths about 1,500 a day, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data.


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