COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates: Jen Psaki Says ‘Stay Tuned’ for Federal Requirements for Large Employers

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attends a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., August 30, 2021.
(Carlos Barria/Reuters)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the Department of Labor may compel large employers to enforce COVID-19 vaccine mandates on their employees.

During a press briefing, a reporter asked how “bold” the president is willing to be “as far as the private sector is concerned in the vaccine mandate area.”

“Even if they don’t have federal contracts can the Department of Labor or anybody else compel major employers, large employers to enforce vaccine mandates on their employees?” the reporter inquired.

Yes, stay tuned,” Psaki responded. 

She added that there would be “more to come this afternoon,” likely referring to President Biden’s scheduled address on Thursday night.

Psaki’s comments were followed by a report from NBC News that Biden is expected to ask the Department of Labor to require any employers with more than 100 employees to institute a vaccine requirement, a testing requirement or both. The requirement could be enforced with a $14,000 fine per violation and would affect two-thirds of the nation’s workforce, according to the report.

The president is also set to issue a new executive order that will change an earlier policy that allowed employees to submit to frequent testing and other strict protocols to avoid having to receive the shots.

In yet another top-down measure, health care facilities must require their staff to be vaccinated as a condition of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Such a requirement would apply to 17 million workers at 50,000 health care providers.

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