The renewed push is being billed as a six-pronged approach designed to not only encourage but indeed force more inoculations. At the same time, according to CNN, the effort aims to further protect those who are already vaccinated through booster shots, keep schools open, and increase testing and masking requirements. The president will stress that vaccinating more of the country is the only way off of the COVID-19 roller coaster Americans have been riding for the last year and a half.
“We know that increasing vaccinations will stop the spread of the pandemic, will get the pandemic under control, will return people to normal life,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday. “That’s what our objective is, so we want to be specific about what we’re trying to achieve.”
After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval last month to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, more federal entities and businesses have adopted vaccine mandates. The Pentagon issued orders for all military personnel to get vaccinated, a requirement covering roughly 1.3 million active-duty servicemembers. Pockets of vaccine resistance among U.S. troops has proven to be stubborn.
United Airlines also announced early last month that it would require its 67,000 U.S.-based employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 27. Since then, the airline says more than half of its workers who weren’t already vaccinated have gotten the jab.
Recent polling has also suggested that mandatory vaccinations have been chipping away at the number of Americans who had remained unvaccinated.
Taming the delta surge is also key to getting the U.S. economy back on track. Prior to the surge taking hold, U.S. job growth had seen steady gains in late spring and early summer. Roughly a million nonfarm jobs were created in June and July each. But the August growth slipped to just 235,000 new jobs, well below what analysts had expected.
Myriad factors are at play in any national economic recovery, but one that certainly matters is whether workers feel comfortable returning to work. According to recent census data, a growing number of Americans say they are not comfortable returning to work. The Census Household Pulse Survey conducted Aug. 18-30 found that 3.2 million Americans were staying out of the workforce because they feared either getting the coronavirus or contributing to its spread. That figure is up from a pandemic low of just 2.5 million Americans who indicated discomfort in the late July, early August survey.