Over 90 percent of federal workers shot before Biden deadline

President Joe Biden speaks during a Thanksgiving National Turkey Thanksgiving ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Friday, November 19, 2021. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) – More than 90% of federal employees have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the deadline set by President Joe Biden.

Biden announced in September that all federal workers must be vaccinated, with no option of testing, unless they get an approved medical or religious exemption. A U.S. official said the vast majority of federal workers are fully vaccinated and a small number have pending or approved exceptions to the mandate.

Workers who are not in compliance are about to begin a “counseling” process that could ultimately result in their dismissal if they do not get vaccinated or get an approved exception to the vaccination.

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The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the statistics, as the official was not authorized to speak officially until they were officially released later Monday.

The deadline is a major test of Biden’s pressure to get people across the country to get vaccinated. Beyond the federal workers rule, his administration is seeking to force large companies to institute vaccination or testing requirements, although plans for law enforcement in January have been put on hold pending litigation.

Tens of millions of Americans who work in companies with 100 or more employees will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4 or be tested weekly for the virus under government rules.

The Occupational safety and health administration said companies that don’t comply could face penalties of nearly $ 14,000 per violation.

The new requirements, which were first introduced by President Joe Biden in September, will apply to around 84 million workers in medium and large companies, although it is not clear how many of those employees are. not vaccinated.

Stricter rules will apply to an additional 17 million people who work in nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid money. These workers will not be able to be tested and will need to be vaccinated.

It was not clear how OSHA planned to apply the rules. A senior administration official said the agency would target businesses if it received complaints.

Workers will be able to request exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

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