Monday, January 30, 2023

US makes COVID-19 vaccines or tests mandatory for large companies by January 4

Millions of Americans working in companies with 100 or more employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4 or be tested weekly for the virus under government rules released Thursday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said companies that fail to comply could face penalties of about $14,000 per violation.

The new requirements, which were first previewed by President Joe Biden in September, will apply to about 84 million workers in medium and large businesses, although it is unclear how many of those workers have not been vaccinated.

The stricter rules will apply to another 17 million people who work in nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities receiving funding from Medicare and Medicaid. Those workers will not have the option of testing and will need vaccinations.

It was unclear how OSHA planned to implement the rules. A senior administration official said the agency will target companies if complaints are received.

Workers will be able to demand exemption on medical or religious grounds.

The release of the rules followed weeks of regulatory review and meetings with business groups, labor unions and others. The rules are a cornerstone of Biden’s most aggressive effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more than 740,000 people in the US.

OSHA drafted rules under emergency authorization to protect employees from an imminent health hazard. Senior administration officials said the rules block conflicting state laws or orders, including those that prohibit employers from getting vaccinated, tested or wearing face masks.

The administration will face an immediate challenge from Republican state officials who are eager to fight Biden in court. More than two dozen Republicans serving as state attorney general have indicated they plan to sue, arguing that only Congress can enforce such broad requirements under emergency authorization.

Last week, 19 states sued to block Biden’s narrow mandate that employees of federal contractors be vaccinated. The requirement was due to take effect on December 8, but the administration said on Thursday it would be delayed until January 4 to meet requirements from other large employers and health care providers.

Workers will need to receive two doses of Pfizer or Moderna Vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine by January 4. Unvaccinated employees must submit a verified negative test to the company at least once a week and wear a face mask. Work.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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