FRIDAY, Aug. 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Tougher steps to compel long-term care facilities, universities, and other institutions to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations are being considered by the Biden administration.
The administration is looking at using federal regulatory powers and the threat of withholding federal funds from institutions to increase vaccination rates, according to people familiar with the early-stage discussions, The Washington Post reported. The objective of the new measures would be to increase vaccinations among the approximately 90 million Americans who are eligible but have refused or have not been able to get them. One option being considered is restricting Medicare dollars or other federal funds from nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities that do not require staff to be vaccinated, one of the sources told The Post.
As the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads more quickly than predicted by some models, the White House is looking for ways to control it.
"If you look through history, there are presidents who -- even in the absence of legal authority -- influence people, you might say," Ezekiel Emanuel, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania who recently organized a joint statement from nearly 60 medical groups urging every health facility to require workers to get vaccinated, told The Post. "We keep referring to this COVID thing like it's an emergency, and then we don't behave like it's a wartime emergency."
About a third of Americans are unvaccinated, and only a quarter of them said they plan to get vaccinated by the end of the year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation conducted in July, The Post reported. It also showed that about 3 percent of unvaccinated Americans would get vaccinated only if it was required for work, school, or other activities.