Biden Administration Announces End to Federal COVID Vaccine Mandates

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President Joe Biden’s administration is going to end a slew of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, including its requirement that foreign travelers provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, officials said on May 1.

The mandate for noncitizen nonimmigrants arriving by air will end on May 12, as will mandates for federal workers and federal contractors, the White House said in a statement.

Mandates for Head Start employees, health care facilities certified by federal regulators, and noncitizens arriving at the U.S. land borders will also be wound down in the future, the administration said, though no specific dates were given.

The mandates were imposed by Biden and top deputies in 2021 as the administration tried to increase the number of vaccinated Americans, despite a growing body of evidence that the vaccines bestow transient protection against symptomatic infection and hospitalization. The vaccines do not prevent transmission, infection, or severe illness.

The White House said the requirements “helped ensure the safety of workers in critical workforces including those in the healthcare and education sectors, protecting themselves and the populations they serve, and strengthening their ability to provide services without disruptions to operations.”

“Our COVID-19 vaccine requirements bolstered vaccination across the nation, and our broader vaccination campaign has saved millions of lives,” the White House added. It did not list any citations and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“While vaccination remains one of the most important tools in advancing the health and safety of employees and promoting the efficiency of workplaces, we are now in a different phase of our response when these measures are no longer necessary,” the White House also said.

Biden previously announced that the COVID-19 public health emergency is going to end on May 12. But it was unclear whether the mandates would be rescinded at the same time.

The COVID-19 national emergency, a similar declaration, ended this month after Biden signed a bill approved by Congress.

The emergency declarations underpinned many of the mandates.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose definition of fully vaccinated has forced millions of Americans to receive multiple doses of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson jab, just said that foreign travelers would meet the mandated requirements if they received one shot of the unproven, updated Moderna and Pfizer formulations.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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