IDAHO — Within a few weeks, the United States Department of Labor is releasing an emergency rule requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to have staff be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing as part of President Joe Biden's six-point vaccination plan.
The new federal vaccine requirement will call for over a hundred million individuals or two-thirds of all workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or follow rigorous testing.
“We know vaccine requirements work and they are the right thing to do,” White House’s COVID-19 Vaccinations Coordinator Dr. Bechara Choucair told Idaho News 6.
Idaho has slowly improved its statewide vaccination rate, but still, only about 53% of the state population ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated at this point in the pandemic.
“The overwhelming majority of people in the hospital today due to COIVD are that unvaccinated. The overwhelming majority of people who are dying from COVID-19 in this country by far are unvaccinated. So, we want to make sure that people are getting their questions about the vaccines answered and they're getting those questions answered with facts, with real information so that they can make their informed decision.” Choucair said. “I have no doubt when people are going to get answers and facts that are questions they will be more inclined to get vaccinated.”
Today's update on COVID-19 in Idaho hospitals. If you haven't looked recently, I've added new features: links to individual hospitals' own daily reports, easy-to-read charts of COVID ER visits at each local hospital, and a noteworthy quote. https://t.co/JAOa7UcxRk— Audrey Dutton (@audreydutton) October 5, 2021
Throughout the last few months, private companies have issued their own COVID -19 vaccine requirements including Idaho's largest health systems.
According to Choucair, these vaccine requirements are working and companies are seeing high compliance rates among employees and states with low vaccination rates are seeing a higher surge of hospitalizations.
“When you take communities with low vaccination rates, like many pockets in Idaho and you take a virus that’s much more contagious like the delta variant, and when you put those two things together; you have a recipe for a spike and that unfortunately exactly what we're seeing in Idaho right now,” Choucair said.
Companies such as United Airlines and Tyson have implemented a vaccine requirement and both companies have over a 90% compliance rate from employees.