The White House has insisted that it would not pursue a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate, though recent developments have led some Americans to question that promise.
According to reports, the Biden administration is preparing to use the vaccination status of staff as a condition for federal funding of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
“To ensure we reduce those risks”
The Associated Press reported the latest move in a report this week, citing an announcement by President Joe Biden.
“The studies show that a highly vaccinated nursing home staff is associated with at least 30% less COVID-19 cases among long-term care residents,” the president said. “With this announcement, I’m using the power of the federal government, as a payer of health care costs, to ensure we reduce those risks to our most vulnerable seniors.”
As part of the new policy, staff members will be required to receive the vaccine in order for facilities to receive funds from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The mandate is expected to be handed down by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and could go into effect as soon as next month.
As it stands, there are reportedly hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated individuals working in such facilities, which served as a catalyst for the deadly spread of COVID-19 among elderly patients in the early months of the pandemic.
Previous vaccine mandates
This represents just the latest in a series of vaccine requirements issued by the Biden administration.
Millions of federal workers are already being subjected to a mandate to either receive the vaccine or undergo rigorous COVID-19 testing and mitigation measures.
Another mandate impacted those serving in the U.S. military. The Department of Defense announced that enlisted service members must be vaccinated by Sept. 15.
The administration has also reportedly considered mandating vaccines for visitors to the U.S. as well as individuals engaging in interstate travel. Furthermore, the federal government could withhold funds from private entities other than long-term care facilities until workers are vaccinated.
Biden has claimed that his administration will not force the vaccine on Americans, but his actions seem contradictory as the number of citizens under some kind of mandate continues to grow.