Administration

White House analysis touts gains from COVID-19 vaccine requirements

The White House on Thursday touted the usefulness of vaccine mandates ahead of President Biden’s visit to Chicago, where he’s meeting with the head of United Airlines and other business leaders who have imposed COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

A White House analysis found vaccination rates increased by more than 20 percent in companies, educational institutions, health systems and public sector agencies that have required their employees to get the shot.

The White House credited vaccination requirements with cutting the rate of unvaccinated Americans by one-third. When Biden first announced in July that federal employees would be required to get vaccinated or regularly tested, there were 95 million unvaccinated Americans. That figure has since fallen to 67 million, the White House said.

Thursday’s report also argued vaccine requirements could help return up to 5 million workers to the labor force, outlining the economic case for mandates.

“Higher vaccination rates will keep more workers safe, healthy, and on-the-job, reducing worker morbidity and mortality as well as worker absenteeism both for the newly-vaccinated workers and people who work with them,” the report states. “The bottom
line is that increased vaccination rates through requirements enables a faster and stronger economic recovery.”

Biden last month announced a broader vaccine requirement for federal workers to get the COVID-19 shot, and the Labor Department is expected to issue a rule mandating large companies to get their employees vaccinated. In the weeks since, the White House has been more vocally supportive of vaccine requirements, even as officials acknowledge they cannot mandate Americans to get the COVID-19 shot.

Thursday’s 27-page White House report was issued hours before Biden will head to Chicago for a trip that was rescheduled from last week, when he opted to stay in Washington, D.C., amid negotiations on his economic agenda. 

Biden will meet with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), who has imposed vaccine requirements for health care workers; Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), who has mandated the shot for police officers in the city; and United CEO Scott Kirby, who has required airline employees to get vaccinated.

The president will also visit a construction site in Elk Grove Village being built by Clayco, a major construction company that will be implementing a vaccination or testing requirement for its employees.

“The President’s message will be clear: Vaccination requirements work,” a White House official said in a statement. “Vaccination requirements get more people vaccinated, helping to end the pandemic and strengthen the economy. That’s why he’s leading on implementing vaccination requirements for 100 million workers – two-thirds of all workers in the U.S. And that’s why we’re seeing growing momentum for vaccination requirements across sectors and across the country.”

Tags Coronavirus coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 Joe Biden Lori Lightfoot vaccine mandates vaccine requirements

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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