WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Joe Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant that is killing thousands each week and jeopardizing the nation's economic recovery.
The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.
Biden is also signing an executive order to require vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government -- with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.
Biden is to announce the new requirements in a Thursday afternoon address from the White House as part of a new "action plan" to address the latest rise in coronavirus cases and the stagnating pace of COVID-19 shots that has raised doubts among the public over his handling of the pandemic.
Biden's plans were previewed Thursday afternoon by White House press secretary Jen Psaki and other senior administration officials ahead of the speech.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds released this statement on Thursday in response to Biden's new requirements:
“President Biden is taking dangerous and unprecedented steps to insert the federal government even further into our lives while dismissing the ability of Iowans and Americans to make healthcare decisions for themselves.
“Biden’s plan will only worsen our workforce shortage and further limit our economic recovery.
“As I’ve said all along, I believe and trust in Iowans to make the best health decisions for themselves and their families. It’s time for President Biden to do the same. Enough is enough.”Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds
You can read more on Biden's COVID-19 action plan here.