Biden mandates vaccines or regular testing for every company with 100 employees or more by January 4

Biden mandates vaccines or regular testing for every company with 100 employees or more by January 4
President Joe Biden. Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • The Biden administration's vaccine rules will kick in on January 4, the White House said.
  • Two rules will cover about 101 million workers in the US government and private companies.

The Biden administration rule requiring millions of workers to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus or else undergo regular testing will take effect on January 4, the White House announced on Thursday.

The rule, rolled out by the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, applies to the federal government workforce and anybody working for a company with more than 100 employees, the White House said.

Employers affected by the rule will have to ensure that their workers are either fully vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 at least weekly. The rule will cover about 84 million workers, the White House said.

Separately, a rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that also goes into effect on January 4 will require that all healthcare workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid be fully vaccinated. This rule applies to more than 17 million workers across roughly 76,000 hospitals and healthcare facilities, the White House said.

The two new rules place about two-thirds of the American workforce under some kind of vaccine requirement, the White House said. The mandates also give President Joe Biden new avenues for boosting vaccination across the US. Nearly 67% of US adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but Biden has pushed for mass vaccination, saying it's the fastest way to safely return to prepandemic norms.


The rules also come at a critical juncture for the economic recovery. Growth in the third quarter slowed to the slowest pace of the pandemic era, signaling that the Delta wave brought the US rebound to its knees. Without new stimulus to boost the recovery, vaccination is among the few ways to help revive the economy.

An administration first detailed the OSHA rule in a briefing reported by outlets including CNN and The Washington Post. The unnamed official had said the full details of the rule would be released Friday, according to The Post.

The broad shape of the plan was announced in September and has since been finessed by officials. Biden had already required that federal workers and contractors be fully vaccinated. The OSHA and CMS rules represent a major push for the administration into the private sector.

They've met resistance, particularly in Republican-led states. Nineteen states including Texas, Georgia, and West Virginia filed lawsuits on Friday to stop Biden's vaccine mandates from being enforced. The lawsuits target Biden's vaccination requirement for federal employees and argue that the rule is an overextension of federal power.

States with their own worker-safety agencies for private-sector employees could hinder the rollout. California, Arizona, Michigan, and 19 other states could choose to delay or tweak Biden's rules and would have 30 days to implement their own versions, Bloomberg reported.