The vaccine mandate 'tipping point': These entities are requiring vaccines as the Delta variant spreads
A man holds his vaccination certificate after receiving his first vaccination. Wilfredo Lee / AP
On Monday, city, state and federal agencies began announcing vaccine mandates.
California, New York City, and the US Department of Veteran Affairs were the first government agencies to do this.
A group representing 300 bars in San Francisco will need Vax cards. Other entities can follow.
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As COVID-19 cases rise again in the US and the delta variant spreads, federal agencies, states and cities - as well as private institutions - begin implementing vaccine mandates.
Last week, the US reported an average of 50,000 COVID-19 cases a day, and there were more than 81,000 new cases on Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's data analyzed by the New York Times. According to the analysis, the average fall rate is the highest since the beginning of May.
The surge in cases has led to what CDC director Rochelle Walensky recently dubbed the "unvaccinated pandemic," with unvaccinated patients making up the vast majority of COVID-19 hospital admissions in the United States.
At the same time, the US vaccination rate has lagged, and by Sunday, 69% of American adults had received at least one vaccination, according to the CDC, falling short of the Biden administration's target of 70% by July 4th.
Given this reality, the imposition of vaccine mandates can put some pressure on other authorities to follow suit.
"Talk about reaching a tipping point," tweeted Dr. Bob Wachter, chairman of the medical school at UC San Francisco, after the series of announcements.
“As every organization and industry finds the courage to mandate vaccinations or provide strong incentives, it becomes much easier for the next to do so. Until all the pressure is on executives who have NOT done it, ”added Wachter.
Similarly, after months of introducing the vaccine, some authorities and executives have taken the stance that there will be no safe return to normal without more vaccinations.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the Golden State will soon require government officials and all health care workers to have proof of COVID-19 vaccination or undergo weekly COVID-19 tests.
"Too many people have chosen to live with this virus," Newsom said during a press conference. The mandate will come into force next month.
"We're at a point in this epidemic, this pandemic where an individual's choice not to get vaccinated is now profound, devastating and deadly on the rest of us," Newsom said, making an analogy of how People are not allowed to drink and drive.
According to the Associated Press, the mandate covers 246,000 California government employees and at least 2 million healthcare workers in both the public and private sectors.
New York City
Similarly, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that a vaccination mandate for all city workers would soon come into effect.
De Blasio said at a press conference that all city workers should be vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 weekly by September 13. The mayor called September the "fulcrum of recovery".
In New York City, this requirement affects nearly 340,000 urban workers, teachers, firefighters, and NYPD officials. Workers in high-risk healthcare and hospital settings have until August 16 to get vaccinated.
The US Department of Veteran Affairs
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday became the first federal agency to demand that health care workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 within the next two months.
"Whenever a veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from COVID-19," announced Denis McDonough, who Minister for Veterans Affairs, in a written statement. "With this mandate, we can make and keep this fundamental promise again."
Doctors, nurses, and dentists working with the VA will be required to provide proof of vaccination in the coming months.
After the recent outbreaks of VA employees resulted in the deaths of four employees, the agency implemented the new policy. At least 70% of workers in VA centers are vaccinated.
Some private companies also announced vaccine mandates for patrons on Monday.
The San Francisco Bar Alliance, a group that represents 300 bars in San Francisco, announced Monday that customers wishing to enter their bars must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entry .
"As of Thursday, July 29th, it will be the official position of the SF Bar Owner Alliance that any customer who wishes to stay at our facilities will provide proof of vaccination or a 72-hour negative COVID-19 test," it says the declaration of the group. "Guests without these verifications are welcome to sit outside in parklets or other spaces we offer."
Bars in other cities in the US, such as Los Angeles, are announcing similar policies.
We will continue to update this list as necessary.
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