In a briefing, he said: “But in addition to incentives, it’s time to impose some requirements based on the realities of different risks unvaccinated individuals pose versus those who have been vaccinated.”
He also said that anyone who works with the federal government needs to get their workers vaccinated, confirming that federal workers and contractors who are not vaccinated will be required to wear a mask and undergo COVID-19 testing once or twice per week.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would be imposing a vaccine mandate on all of its health care staff as well.
He also expressed his support for President Biden asking states and local governments to use American Rescue Plan funding to award people $100 for getting vaccinated, saying that if financial incentives work to "get more shots in arms, we should use them."
Last week, Biden indicated that the federal government is looking to confirm whether the entire country must be mandated to get COVID-19 vaccines. Many corporations and municipalities have already imposed such mandates.
Referring to the vaccine mandates put in place by Facebook and Google for their employees, Biden said that he would like to see continued movement in this direction. He stated: "I had asked the Justice Department to determine whether that is -- they're able to do that legally, and they can. Local communities can do that. Local businesses can do that. It's still a question whether the federal government can mandate the whole country. I don't know that yet."
However, Zients later went on CNN to do some damage control, saying that the DoJ was not exploring whether they could institute a national mandate and was instead looking into whether employers can mandate these vaccines.
Until now, the White House has maintained that a nationwide vaccine mandate was not being considered but encouraged private employers to do everything they could to convince their employees to get vaccinated, including by instituting mandates.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that the city will require theaters, gyms and restaurants to bar unvaccinated people from entering their venues, making it the first American city to put such a strict requirement in place.
He said: “The only way to patronize these businesses indoors is if you’re vaccinated. If you want to participate in society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated.”
Meanwhile, companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Disney and Walmart have made vaccines compulsory for employees.
One topic that doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves within the COVID-19 mandate debate is the fact that we now know that vaccinated people who are infected with the virus are just as contagious as those who aren’t vaccinated. This is an inconvenient fact for some vaccinated people who like to deride those who are unwilling to accept the vaccines’ risks by calling them "selfish" and claiming they are endangering others.
It turns out that everyone is equally contagious, which means that these mandates simply don’t carry a lot of weight from a “public interest” angle. As always, those who feel the risks are worth it are free to choose to get the vaccine. However, those who do not see it that way should be allowed to exercise their health freedom without being shunned by society because they are no more dangerous to others when it comes to spreading the disease than those who do get the shots.
Sources for this article include: