WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden is considering a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all federal workers and contractors, and some sources report an announcement could come later this week.
In response to a reporter's question about requiring all federal employees to get vaccinated, Biden responded, "that's under consideration right now. But if you're not vaccinated you're not nearly as smart as I thought you were."
"We have a pandemic because of the unvaccinated, and they're sowing enormous confusion" Biden added.
The move comes as the CDC announced Tuesday afternoon they recommend everyone wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
The delta variant of the coronavirus is more contagious than previous variants and is being blamed for a surge of infections currently spreading across the country. Counties with lower vaccination rates are being hit hard by the surge in new cases, filling up hospitals with seriously sick people.
The vast majority of those contracting COVID-19 right now are unvaccinated, upwards of 99% in some areas, however with increased community spread there is an increase in the number of vaccinated Americans who are testing positive for COVID-19. Those who are vaccinated are showing less severe symptoms if they have symptoms at all.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, along with local municipalities like Los Angeles, New York City, among others, have announced vaccine requirements recently for employees.
According to the Department of Justice, people must be informed of their "option to accept or refuse administration" of an emergency use vaccine. Currently, the three vaccines in use in the United States all have emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. Full approval of the vaccines are expected soon from the agency.
Workers are able to seek medical or religious exemptions from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Some employers are also offering a so-called "soft mandate," that allows unvaccinated employees to report to work, however they must wear a mask and submit to regular COVID-19 testing.