The White House expressed in favor of vaccine requirements for healthcare workers on Monday, July 26, but did not say whether the Biden administration would seek a national mandate.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged that the federal government should continue to evaluate measures to increase vaccination rates but warned against issuing general requirements.
“There are certain powers the federal government has and certain powers the federal government does not have,” she said.
The White House was not considering a prospective vaccine mandate from a political standpoint but rather from the perspective of saving lives, Psaki stated.
Last Thursday, July 22, the American Hospital Association officially promoted vaccine obligations for hospital and healthcare employees, an idea that was supported by more than 50 medical organizations in a joint statement released on Monday.
Employees who provide direct patient care to veterans must get a coronavirus vaccine or risk losing their jobs, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Monday.
Psaki reiterated that the White House favored the notion when asked about vaccine mandates for medical personnel.
“I would say though that mandates, as is evidenced by the Hospital Association’s, those are meant to keep people safe around the country,” Psaki said on Monday.
The mandate “could be a guide for us on what to do with our own health care workforce here from the federal government,” she added.
Moreover, broadening the vaccine mandate to include all federal employees were “under consideration,” president Joe Biden said on Tuesday, July 27, but he did not comment further.
While the White House struggles with a statewide rise in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations due to the emergence of the delta variant and breakthrough infections among vaccinated Americans, the larger mandate under discussion would be the administration’s most dramatic adjustment this week.
“It has not been determined it will illegal, no, but we have not yet made a determination about that,” Psaki replied when asked if president Joe Biden’s requirement that all federal staff be inoculated against the infection would be “inappropriate or illegal.”
“The president certainly recognizes that he is not always the right voice to every community about the benefits of getting vaccinated, which is why we have invested as much as we have in local voices and empowering local, trusted voices,” the White House press secretary said on Tuesday.