Spurred by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, new cases of COVID-19 have risen in the U.S. by 170 percent over the last two weeks. A slew new vaccine mandates have been enacted in the United States to counter this rise that is expected to continue into fall.
Monday’s announcement by the Department of Veterans Affairs indicated that 115,000 of its frontline health workers will need to be vaccinated in the next two-months.
“Yes, Veterans Affairs will in fact require all docs who work in facilities to be vaccinated,” President Biden stated Monday to reporters in the Oval Office.
With less than 50 percent of the U.S. population having been fully inoculated against COVID-19, several hospital systems nationwide have instituted similar policies requiring employees to be vaccinated or face termination.
Local governments at the county, state and city level have driven many of the most recent policy changes.
San Francisco has issued a new policy earlier this month that requires city employees to get vaccinated.
“To protect the health and safety of all City employees and the public, the City has implemented a new Vaccination Policy,” the policy states.
“The City policy requires all employees to: Their vaccination status must be reported, along with verification documents, no later than July 29, 2021. 2. You must be fully vaccinated by the City and notify the City of your vaccination status no later than 10 week after the Federal Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) final approval for at least one COVID-19-related vaccine. The July 8th, 2021 Health Order requires that all City employees who work in high-risk areas be fully vaccinated no matter if the FDA has approved a vaccine.
California’s state adopted San Francisco’s lead Monday and released a new policy requiring state employees to either show proof of COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing. This will take effect from Aug. 2.
The number of COVID-19 cases reported daily in the largest state has increased dramatically since July 3, when 700 cases were reported on July 3. This has now risen to almost 9,000 cases last Friday.
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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday a similar policy for his city. It requires all New York City municipal employees to get vaccinated and submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. New York’s approximately 300,000 employees will be affected by the policy. It will go into effect Sept. 13.
Although it is up to private companies to decide whether they require proof of vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19, businesses and business owners are increasingly faced with the dilemma of imposing restrictions after the rise in new infections caused by the Delta variant.