WASHINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden will enforce a federal mandate that workers at U.S. companies with at least 100 employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly starting on Jan. 4, a reprieve to businesses facing labor shortages during the holiday season, U.S. officials said on Thursday.
Biden’s separate vaccine requirement for federal contractors has been delayed a month to Jan. 4, officials added, while workers in healthcare facilities and nursing homes participating in the Medicare and Medicaid government healthcare programs will need to get their shots by the same date.
The action on the private-sector vaccinations was taken under the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) emergency authority over workplace safety, the officials said. The mandate applies to 84.2 million workers at 1.9 million private-sector employers. Another 18.5 million workers for those employers are exempt because they either work remotely or outside all the time, OSHA said.
OSHA estimates 31.7 million of those covered workers are unvaccinated and that 60% of employers will require vaccinations, up from 25% today, resulting in another 22.7 million employees getting vaccinated.