September 10, 2021
Biden Administration releases new COVID-19 strategy focused on ramping up vaccinations, increasing access to testing and treatment, and keeping schools and economy open
On September 9, the Biden Administration released a new, six-pronged national strategy to combat COVID-19 amid the surge in cases driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant. Earlier in the day, White House officials said the plan employs the same "science-based approach" that sharply reduced cases in the spring and includes "aggressive, comprehensive" actions focused on three priorities: 1) getting more people vaccinated, 2) decreasing hospitalizations and deaths, and 3) keeping schools and the economy up and running. According to the document, Path Out of The Pandemic: President Biden's COVID-19 Action Plan, the plan "both increases incentives and requirements to get people vaccinated and also deploys more testing, masking, and other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 while vaccination rates increase."
According to the plan, several regulations aimed at increasing the number of vaccinated individuals are already in development. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work, as well as require employers to provide paid time off for vaccination and recovery. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will also require vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement as a condition of participation, expanding prior emergency mandates for nursing home workers to include hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies, among others. The President also signed Executive Orders earlier in the day extending vaccine requirements to all federal executive branch workers and federal government contractors.
The plan also notes that the administration will be prepared to offer booster shots as early as the week of September 20 but will await authorization and approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Other provisions contained within the plan are aimed at further supporting increased vaccinations and public health mitigation efforts like masking, ramping up testing and treatment capacity, and providing additional supports for schools and small businesses impacted by the pandemic so they can remain safely open.
Additional information is available in the attached Tax Alert.
Biden Administration COVID-19 plan