The president wants you to get vaccinated. While the White House has indicated that a nationwide vaccine mandate is not forthcoming, President Biden is using mandates for certain groups. So far he’s required federal employees, the military and federal contractors to get vaccinated. In early September, Biden used the bully pulpit to praise the vaccinated for “doing the right thing” and implored the unvaccinated to get the jab. He also announced that the U.S. Department of Labor was developing a rule for employers with 100 or more employees to require those employees to get vaccinated, face weekly testing, or—presumably—lose their jobs. It’s been more than a month since that announcement, and we have not seen the rule yet, though many people are acting like it’s already in effect.
What’s the status of this rule? And why did Biden announce it if it wasn’t ready for prime time? The answer might be that the rule is challenging to write—it faces steep legal and practical challenges—and that, in the meantime, the president’s announcement provides useful cover for employers to require vaccines and help drive up vaccination rates.