WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration will require nursing home staff to be vaccinated against COVID -19 as a condition for those facilities to continue receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Biden announced the move Wednesday afternoon in a White House address as the administration continues to look for ways to use the mandates to encourage vaccine holders to get shots. A senior administration official confirmed the announcement on condition of anonymity to preview the news before Biden said.
The new mandate, in the form of an upcoming regulation to be released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, could take effect as soon as months.
Hundreds of thousands of nursing workers have not been vaccinated, according to federal data, despite facilities being handled damage by the early outbreak of COVID-19 and their workers are among the first in the country to deserve shots.
It came as the The Biden administration wants to raise costs for those who have not been vaccinated, after months of incentives and giveaways proved insufficient to encourage millions of Americans to roll up their sleeves.
In just the past three weeks, Biden has forced millions federal workers to prove their vaccination status or face heavy new requirements, with more stringent requirements for federal workers in primary health care duties, and his administration has moved toward ordering vaccines for the military soon next month.
Biden also celebrated businesses ordering vaccines for their own workplaces and encouraged others to follow, and emphasized local vaccine mandates as a condition for daily activity, such as of indoor dining.
The new effort seems to pay off, as the rate of new vaccinations in the country has nearly doubled in the past month. More than 200 million Americans have now received at least one dose of vaccines, according to the White House, but nearly 80 million Americans are eligible but have not been vaccinated.
Last year the CMS used similar regulatory authority to ban most visitors from nursing homes in an effort to protect residents.
Biden’s upcoming announcement was first reported by CNN.