President BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE on Thursday will announce a requirement that all federal workers be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a source familiar with the plans.
The action goes a step further than what Biden announced earlier this summer, when federal workers had the option of being tested regularly instead of getting vaccinated.
The tightening vaccine requirement for federal workers comes as the Biden administration is stepping up its encouragement of vaccine mandates in the private sector as well.
Biden will announce the move as part of a speech later Thursday announcing a six-part plan to get the delta variant under control.
The speech comes as Biden faces pressure to act more forcefully on the pandemic. After COVID-19 seemed to be receding earlier this summer, the delta variant has fueled a new spike, with about 150,000 new cases daily and over 1,000 deaths per day.
White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden injects new momentum into filibuster fight White House: Biden drove by border on 2008 campaign trip Red Cross says Afghan humanitarian crisis too big for aid groups to handle alone MORE said Wednesday that the new steps are coming because while progress has been made, "we have more work to do, and we are still at war with the virus and with the delta variant. So we’re going to build on that work."
The White House said Thursday morning that other measures being announced in the speech include increased testing. Experts have been calling for a greater effort to make rapid tests widely available.
Biden will also discuss "keeping schools safely open" and "improving care for those with COVID-19."
The speech marks a renewed focus on the pandemic after much of the discussion in Washington has centered on the Afghanistan withdrawal. The pandemic has continued to rage across the country, and the most vulnerable individuals are those who have not been vaccinated against the virus.
--Updated at 10:20 a.m.