Global Hour

Biden going tough on vaccine rules without provoking backlash

WASHINGTON (AP) — As pace of vaccinations in the U.S. began to slow, President Joe Biden seconded inducements such as million-dollar cash lotteries. He is testing a tougher approach, as new coronavirus infections soar.

In just the past 2 weeks, Biden forced millions of federal workers to assert their vaccination status. He has also met with business leaders at the White House to press them to do the same.

The administration meanwhile has taken steps toward requiring shots for people who might be travelling to the U.S. from overseas. The White House is examining alternatives to be more assertive at both state and local levels.

President Joe Biden speaks about prescription drug prices and his “Build Back Better” agenda from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“To the mayors, school superintendents, educators, local leaders, who are standing up to the governors politicizing mask protection for our kids: thank you,” Biden said Thursday. “Thank God that we have heroes like you, and I stand with you all, and America should as well.”

Biden became more assertive, he has abstained from using all his powers to pressure Americans to get vaccinated. He has held off any proposals to require vaccinations for all air travelers or the federal workforce.

A noticeable number of Republicans, specifically those glancing at the party’s 2024 presidential nomination, disagree and warn of federal overreaching into decisions that should be left to individuals. Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, epicenter of the latest virus wave, has spent weeks quarrelling over the proper role of government during a public health crisis.

For vaccine mandates, there is significant support. According to a current poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 51% of Americans believe that the federal government should recommend that employers expect their workers to get vaccinated and 45% say it should not.

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