(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden outlined plans for a booster for fully vaccinated Americans and vaccine mandates for nursing home employees in a speech Wednesday.
During his address, Biden said the current state of coronavirus in the nation is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” giving reassurance to fully vaccinated Americans. He also touted increased vaccination numbers in recent weeks.
“Please, if you have not gotten vaccinated, do it now. Do it now. It saves your life and it can save the lives of those you love,” Biden said. “You know, the good news is more people are getting vaccinated. Overall, weekly new vaccinations are up 80% from where they were a month ago.”
Biden also outlined a timeline for fully vaccinated individuals to receive a third dose – a booster shot – for increased protection against the delta variant.
“Pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the CDC’s committee of outside experts will be ready to start these boosters during the week of Sept. 20. In which time anyone vaccinated on or before Jan. 20 will be eligible to get a booster shot,” Biden said. “That means that if you got your second shot Feb. 15, you are eligible to get your booster Oct. 15.”
The Biden administration says they have enough vaccines for every American to get a third booster shot and that the boosters will be free for all Americans.
Biden also announced a vaccine mandate for employees of nursing homes under his jurisdiction.
“If you work in a [federally funded] nursing home and serve those on Medicare and Medicaid, you will be required to get vaccinated,” Biden said. “With this announcement I am using the power of the federal government as a payer of health care costs to reduce those risks to our most vulnerable seniors.”
In his remarks, Biden also reiterated his support for mask mandates in schools and offered support for educators who are defying bans on mask mandates in some states. Parents across the country have protested in-school mask mandates at school board meetings, rallies and by sending children to school without masks.
“We need to make sure children are wearing masks in school,” Biden said. “We are not going to sit by as governors try to block and intimidate educators protecting our children. For example, if a governor wants to cut the pay of hard education leaders who require masks in the classroom, the money from the American Rescue Plan can be used to pay the salary 100%.”
Biden specifically called out the states of Florida and Arizona, whose Republican governors banned schools from mandating masks, leaving the option to mask to parents and students.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been firm in his belief of allowing parents and students to determine whether to mask rather than having administrators mandate masks in schools. DeSantis defended his executive order in a statement last week.
“Giving parents options to make these decisions is not controversial. I’m proud that today we took action to make sure school administrators respect parents’ rights to make educational and healthcare decisions for their families,” DeSantis said. “I will continue to fight to protect Florida’s families from government overreach and to preserve their God-given rights.”
The Biden administration is doubling down on masking as a protective measure after the CDC reversed its masking guidance for vaccinated Americans last month.