Biden announced Thursday that all employers with more than 100 employees will be forced to either require their employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 or mandate weekly testing for the virus.
The president also announced that the remaining 17 million healthcare workers employed in facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated. Together, the two groups represent about 100 million Americans.
"We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin," Biden said of the roughly 80 million Americans who have yet to get the shot. "While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact: We're in a tough stretch and it could last for awhile."
But Biden stopped short of mandating the vaccine for illegal immigrants attempting to cross America's border, even though about 30% of immigrants held at federal detention facilities are refusing to be vaccinated — and they have the option to refuse
Meanwhile, more than 18% of migrant families who recently crossed the border tested positive for COVID before being released by Border Patrol. Another 20% of unaccompanied minors tested positive for the virus.
Biden's new rules for employers with over 100 employees will be issued through the Labor Department, the president said. The president also threatened hefty fines for employers that fail to comply with the mandate.
"We have the tools to combat the virus if we come together to use those tools," Biden said.