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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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    Sweeping new vaccine mandates for 100 million Americans

    Washington —  In his most forceful pandemic actions and words, President Joe Biden on Thursday announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.

    Speaking at the White House, Biden sharply criticized the roughly 80 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives.

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    “We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said, all but biting off his words. The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”

    The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

    Biden is also signing an executive order to require vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.

    Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer “shares the president’s goal to beat COVID. We are reviewing the president’s plan to understand what it would mean for the state,” spokesman Bobby Leddy said Thursday.

    But Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, tore into Biden’s move as government overreach.

    “The only thing it seems our government is more concerned about than COVID is their obsession with vaccines. This is not about health care. It is about control,” Shirkey said in a Thursday statement.

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