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President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan

by Guila Todd | Sep 16, 2021
On September 9, the Biden administration announced a six-pronged, comprehensive national strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, entitled “Path out of the Pandemic.”

On September 9, the Biden administration announced a six-pronged, comprehensive national strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, entitled “Path out of the Pandemic.” An overview of that strategy has been provided below.

Vaccinating the Unvaccinated

The Biden administration will leverage its regulatory powers to substantially increase the number of Americans covered by vaccination requirements. Requirements under the plan are as follows:

  • Requiring all employers with 100+ employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested
  • Requiring vaccinations for all federal workers and for millions of contractors that do business with the federal government
  • Requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for over 17 million health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals and other health care settings
  • Calling on large entertainment venues to require proof of vaccination or testing for entry
  • Requiring employers to provide paid time off to get vaccinated

Further Protecting the Vaccinated

Pending authorization of boosters by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a formal recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the administration will be prepared to offer booster shots beginning the week of September 20, 2021. Boosters will be available across 80,000 locations and individuals will be able find vaccination sites on a newly launched federal website, Vaccines.gov. Driving this part of the plan will be a focus on:

  • Providing easy access to booster shots for all eligible Americans
  • Ensuring Americans know where to get a booster

Keeping Schools Safely Open

The administration is taking the following actions to ensure schools which have reopened can remain open:

  • Requiring staff in Head Start programs, Department of Defense schools, and Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools to be vaccinated
  • Calling on all states to adopt vaccine requirement for all school employees
  • Providing additional funding to school districts for safe school reopening, including backfilling salaries and other funding withheld by states for implementing COVID-19 safety measures
  • Using the Department of Education’s full legal authority to protect students’ access to in-person instruction
  • Getting students and school staff tested regularly
  • Providing every resource to the FDA to support timely review of vaccines for individuals under the age of 12

Increasing Testing & Requiring Masking

The administration is taking new actions to increase the amount of COVID-19 testing and ensuring strong mask requirements in the following ways:

  • Mobilizing industry to expand easy-to-use testing Production
  • Making at-home tests more affordable
  • Sending free rapid, at-home tests to food banks and community health centers
  • Expanding free pharmacy testing
  • Continuing to require masking for interstate travel and double fines for those not in compliance
  • Continuing to require masking on federal property

Protecting Our Economic Recovery

The administration is rolling out new support efforts for small businesses in the following ways:

  • New support for small businesses impacted by COVID-19
  • Streamlining the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness process
  • Launching the Community Navigator Program to connect small businesses to the help they need

Improving Care for those with COVID-19

The administration will bolster the Surge Response Team efforts in states experiencing the highest levels of COVID-19 infection. To that end, the Biden Administration commits to the following:

  • Increased support for COVID-19 burdened hospitals
  • Increased access to monoclonal antibody to those who need it
  • Expanding the pool of health care professionals providing treatment by deploying federal monoclonal antibody strike teams

We expect agencies directed to develop rules under the plan to begin issuing final guidance in October, while the efforts to improve care for those with COVID-19 will be initiated more immediately. Additionally, the Biden administration has indicated it will announce further steps to build on the progress made under the plan in the coming weeks. We will continue to monitor progress on this issue and update you as things progress.

Want to get involved in ACA’s advocacy efforts? Contact the ACA Government Affairs and Public Policy team at advocacy@counseling.org.

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