"If you visit, live, or work in a nursing home, you shouldn't have to take a high risk of contracting coronavirus because there are unvaccinated employees there," President Joe Biden said during a speech at the White House.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday ordered his government to deny funding to nursing homes from two public programs that do not require staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The measure marks the first time Biden has threatened to withhold federal funds to get more people to get vaccinated in a context of growing concern about the expansion of the Delta variant in the country.
Speaking at the White House, the president said that if you go to a nursing home, live or work, you should not take too much risk of contracting the Covid 19.
Specifically, the president asked the US Department of Health to draft a new rule. The vaccination of all its employees will be a condition for nursing homes to receive funds from subsidized health insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid.
That will affect more than 15,000 nursing homes with about 1.3 million employees and about 1.6 million people in need of care, the White House said in a statement.
According to official data cited by the CNN chain, about 40% of the employees of these residences are not vaccinated.
The new rule could go into effect next month. Still, the Biden administration will work with residences, their staff, and unions to speed up vaccination of those workers before the rule takes effect, CNN said.
The data shows that, in residences where employee vaccination rates are lower, the White House said infections among the elderly they serve are increasing.
Biden acknowledged that his authority to require Americans to get vaccinated is "limited" but that he will continue to seek ways to use it, weeks after announcing that he will force his government workers to get vaccinated if they do not want to undergo COVID-19 tests. Regularly.
The president also defended his government's decision to start administering a booster dose of the vaccine as of September 20, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) having requested a global moratorium on that measure.
I know that some world leaders say that the United States should not get its third food until other countries get their first. I disagree. We can take care of the United States and help the world simultaneously, stressed Biden, recalling that his country has promised to donate 600 million vaccines to other countries.