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New federal vaccine mandate will impact some Cook County residents

Cook County line. Submitted photo
Cook County line. Submitted photo

In his most forceful pandemic actions and words, President Joe Biden last week ordered sweeping new federal vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans — private-sector employees as well as health care workers and federal contractors — in an all-out effort to curb the surging COVID-19 delta variant.

Speaking at the White House, Biden sharply criticized the tens of millions of Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives, according to the Associated Press.

“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said. "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 requiring 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.

In Cook County, Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager says the new mandate would include employees at local healthcare facilities, staff at the Gunflint and Tofte Ranger Districts for the United States Forest Service and the local staff working for the U.S. Border Patrol.

Grinager talked with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs about this and other news related to the pandemic during an interview Sept. 13. Audio below.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 

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