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US mandates vaccines or tests for big companies by Jan 4

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 5th November, 2021 12:56:04 PM
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US mandates vaccines or tests for big companies by Jan 4

 

Tens of millions of Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4 or get tested for the virus weekly under government rules issued Thursday, reports AP.

The new requirements are the Biden administration’s boldest move yet to persuade reluctant Americans to get a vaccine that has been widely available for months — or face financial consequences. If successful, administration officials believe it will go a long way toward ending a pandemic that has killed more than 750,000 Americans.

First previewed by President Joe Biden in September, the requirements will apply to about 84 million workers at medium and large businesses, although it is not clear how many of those employees are unvaccinated.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations will force the companies to require that unvaccinated workers test negative for COVID-19 at least once a week and wear a mask while in the workplace.

OSHA left open the possibility of expanding the requirement to smaller businesses. It asked for public comment on whether employers with fewer than 100 employees could handle vaccination or testing programs.

Tougher rules will apply to another 17 million people working in nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities that receive money from Medicare and Medicaid. Those workers will not have an option for testing — they will need to be vaccinated.

Workers will be able to ask for exemptions on medical or religious grounds.

The requirements will not apply to people who work at home or outdoors.