US President Biden suggested a plan that would require all private companies with 100 or more employees to verify that their personnel have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
NEW DELHI: On September 9, US President Joe Biden proposed a plan to mandate all private firms with 100 or more employees to certify that their staff are completely vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing.
The rule will be enforced through an Emergency Temporary Standard established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor.
The White House says the vaccination requirement will impact over 80 million workers in private-sector firms with more than 100 employees.
Joe Biden meets company CEOs and top business leaders
In this connection, President Joe Biden met with CEOs and other senior business executives in the United States on September 15 to press firms to compel workers to get inoculated against COVID-19 because of an increase in illnesses among the unvaccinated.
The conference concerning Joe Biden’s vaccination rule comprised the CEOs of Walt Disney Company, Microsoft Corporation, and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.
Mixed reactions to the mandatory vaccine mandate
Vaccine recommendations from health authorities have been rejected by certain Republican-led states and a substantial percentage of Americans, claiming economic or freedom-of-choice grounds.
The United States currently trails behind other developed nations in terms of vaccination rates, with just 63 per cent of the population having received at least one shot.
A majority of Americans, however, support some sort of vaccine requirement, according to surveys conducted by various US-based news outlets.
Under OSHA, authorities can order mandatory vaccinations
According to experts, legal challenges are expected, but they believe OSHA has the right to safeguard workers’ safety by ordering mandatory vaccinations.
David Michaels, Epidemiologist and longest-serving OSHA head (2009-17), says that OSHA standards are powerful enough to change conditions at thousands of workplaces, without OSHA ever having to inspect.
“Most employers try to be law-abiding. When OSHA issues a standard, their attorneys and HR staff tell them how to comply with the standard,” he tweeted.
As per Mr David, many workers will feel more confident returning to work, knowing their workplaces are safer. “And they will be able to complain to OSHA if employers aren’t complying with the new requirements,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the experts have been extensively referenced the 1905 Supreme Court decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts case, in which the court affirmed the Cambridge, Massachusetts Board of Health’s power to mandate smallpox inoculation during an outbreak.
It is pertinent to mention here that the rapidly spreading Delta strain of the Coronavirus has caused a fresh wave of illness and death, posing a greater risk not just to the country but also to a president who campaigned on bringing the pandemic under control.