Biden’s directive, which is expected to affect as many as 100 million Americans, was announced during public remarks discussing his COVID-19 plan.
The mandate will require all businesses with more than 100 workers to have those employees vaccinated or tested weekly for the virus, affecting about 80 million Americans.
The roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid will also have to be vaccinated under Biden’s edict.
The mandate appears to contradict comments made by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said during a July 23 press briefing that a COVID-19 vaccine mandate is “not the role of the federal government.”
“That is the role that institutions, private-sector entities and others may take,” Psaki said at the time. “That certainly is appropriate. Also, local communities are going to take steps they need to take in order to protect people in their communities.”
Biden also vowed before he was sworn in as president that he wouldn’t make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory.
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“I don’t think it should be mandatory, I wouldn’t demand it to be mandatory, but I would do everything in my power … It’s like I don’t think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide,” Biden said in December.
Biden predicted at the time that “if people do it for 100 days in the middle of what will still be a raging crisis, and the vaccine is able to be distributed, they’re going to see deaths drop off the edge. They’re going to see hundreds of thousands of people not getting sick. And my hope is they’ll then be inclined to say, ‘It’s worth the patriotic duty to go ahead and protect other people.’”
Associated Press contributed to this report.