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December 3, 2021

President Biden unveils winter COVID-19 plan to ramp up boosters and vaccinations, expand free at-home testing and more

On December 2, President Biden announced new actions aimed at combatting COVID-19 as the country faces an expected uptick in cases this winter and the emergence of a new variant, Omicron. Upon releasing the plan, President Biden reiterated that the new variant is "cause for concern, not panic" and pledged to fight it with "science and speed, not chaos and confusion." The strategy largely builds on infrastructure set up over the last several months to accelerate vaccine distribution and encourage more people to get initial doses and booster shots, especially seniors and children. It also includes a new requirement for insurers to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests through guidance the administration plans to issue in January. Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that additional details, such as whether the government will reimburse insurers for the costs of at-home tests would be detailed in the January guidance. The plan also urges employers "to move forward expeditiously with requiring their workers to get vaccinated or tested weekly" amid a court-mandated pause in the enforcement of the administration's rule to require employers over 100 to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing.

Other actions include requiring Medicaid to pay health care providers to talk to families about getting their kids vaccinated, a review of school COVID-19 prevention policies to avoid unnecessary closures, stricter testing rules for international travelers, and accelerated delivery of vaccines globally, among other items.

For more information, see the Fact Sheet.

Additional information is also available in the attached Tax Alert.


Contact Information
For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
Washington Council Ernst & Young
   • Heather Meade (
   • Laura Dillon (


Biden winter COVID-19 plan