Biden to end vaccination mandates for federal workers and travelers


Travelers wearing protective masks receive nasal swabs from nurses at a COVID-19 testing site inside Terminal B at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020.

Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Biden administration will end its Covid-19 vaccination mandates for federal employees, contractors and international air travelers next week.

The White House said in a statement Monday that these vaccine requirements will end on May 11, the same day the Covid public health emergency expires.

“While vaccination remains one of the most important tools to advance employee health and safety and promote workplace efficiency, we are now in a different phase of our response when these measures are no longer needed,” the White House said.

Although Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths have dropped significantly this year, the virus still kills more than 1,000 people a week.

The Department of Health and Human Services will also begin phasing out its vaccination mandate for health care facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid, the White House said. Additionally, this will end vaccination requirements for Head Start programs.

And the Department of Homeland Security will waive vaccination requirements for people entering the United States through its land borders with Canada and Mexico, according to the Biden administration. Citizens, nationals and permanent residents of the United States have never been subject to these requirements.

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HHS and DHS will provide more details on the end of these vaccine requirements in the coming days, the White House said.

The Biden administration has implemented vaccine requirements for health care workers, federal employees, contractors and international air travelers as part of its drive to boost poor vaccination rates and slow the spread of the virus as the delta variant surged in late 2021, followed by omicron in the winter of 2022.

The mandates have faced fierce opposition and legal action from critics who have slammed the requirements as government overreach, while the White House has stressed they are essential to protect public health.

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