Pres. Biden expected to announce COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Biden expected to announce vaccine mandate for 2.1M federal workers
Late Tuesday, ABC News confirmed that President Joe Biden is likely to announce a federal employee vaccine mandate.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Late Tuesday, ABC News confirmed that President Joe Biden is likely to announce a federal employee vaccine mandate.

"We have a pandemic because the unvaccinated -- and they're sowing enormous confusion," he said. "The more we learned -- the more we learn about this virus and the delta variation, the more we have to be worried, concerned," Biden said. "And the only one thing we know for sure, if those other 100 million people got vaccinated we'd be in a very different world. So get vaccinated. If you aren't, you're not nearly as smart as I thought you were."

With 2.1 million workers, the federal government is the largest U.S. employer. So Biden's announcement, expected to come Thursday, would be the largest vaccine mandate by a single employer.

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"It's kinda hard for me to say it should be mandated because I feel in this country people should have that choice," said Sal Garcia, a United States postal worker from Union City, who is concerned about his unvaccinated colleagues' job security.

"If it's mandated and they don't want to, what's going to happen? Are they going to get fired? That wouldn't be cool."

But Garcia says that he's fully vaccinated and hopes others will get the shot.

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Kate Larsen: "Would it make you feel safer at work if all your colleagues were vaccinated?"

Sal Garcia: "I believe so, it would."

If a federal employee does not get vaccinated, ABC News sources say they'll be required to comply with stringent COVID protocols like masking.

"We already have vaccine mandates. We've had them since the Supreme Court passed a law I think in 1905," said Dr. Louise Aronson, a UCSF geriatrician, who has been a part of both local and state vaccine committees. "So we have mandates for schools, we have mandates for certain jobs. You know, in order for me to have my job, there are certain vaccines and other tests I have to do. So people are sometimes behaving as if this is new and draconian. It is not, there is long, established precedents."

Dr. Aronson hopes that mandates will give the country more time to overcome vaccine hesitancy. "If we save people's lives and then can work through it with them after that's still better than having them die because of misinformation."

A USPS official tells ABC7 they're waiting to hear from the post master general about vaccine guidance for their workers.

Garcia hopes people do what it takes to keep COVID from spreading.

"I hope and pray this goes away and we all get back to some sort of normality," he said.