White House officials unclear on when vaccine plans will need to be implemented by businesses

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:38 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We’re hearing from the White House, sharing more details about President Biden’s COVID-19 action plan.

Thursday, the President announced new federal vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans. Questions and criticism followed the rollout.

WTOC talked to several White House officials Friday, asking when this plan will be implemented, and they did not have that answer for us.

The White House’s vaccination coordinator, Dr. Bechara Choucair, says there are a lot of things that will be finalized and clarified throughout what he calls “the rule making process.” While he could not say how long that could take, White House officials say Biden’s plan is one that will save lives.

“It’s a great set of strategies that build on strategies we’ve been working on,” said Dr. Choucair. “That would allow us to get a lot more people vaccinated and a lot more people protected.”

President Biden announced a plan with six approaches based off science, officials say, that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 and more.

“So lucky to have three vaccines that are very safe, very effective against the variants that we’re seeing but we have to do everything we can to prevent that replication of the virus, that more community spread, so that we can also prevent further mutation.”

The President’s plan calls for vaccine requirements in workplaces of 100 people or more, or weekly tests. But we asked who would pay for these mandatory COVID-19 tests - the employers or the workers. We also asked if local departments, like police and fire, would be included. This is all they could say.

“That will be clarified throughout this process.”

President Biden’s announcement is seeing support and criticism. The White House’s deputy press secretary saying it’s upsetting to see this plan become political when the plan is aimed at saving lives.

“It’s about how do we be patriots, right? How do we come together and protect our communities,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Before the President was even done speaking, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp tweeted it is an, “unlawful overreach by the Biden administration,” even saying he will pursue every legal option available to the State.

Karine Jean-Pierre says President Biden does, in fact, have the legal authority.

“A legal authority that was given to him by the Department of Labor and OSHA through Congress,” Jean-Pierre said.

To ask the Department of Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Administration to draft an emergency temporary standard to carry out the vaccine mandate affecting businesses and employees.

“This is a right that he has if we are seeing grave danger to people in the workforce.”

White House officials really emphasized this vaccine mandate should not be political, saying this is the path the country must take to put the pandemic behind us.

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