The Biden administration on Thursday set Jan. 4 as the deadline for large companies to mandate coronavirus vaccinations or start weekly testing of their workers, the government’s biggest effort yet to enlist private businesses in combating the virus.
The new rule, applying to companies with 100 or more employees, is expected to cover 84 million workers, roughly 31 million of whom are unvaccinated. It lays out details of a plan President Biden announced in September, invoking emergency powers over workplace safety.
In a separate measure that will affect 17 million more workers, nursing homes and other health care facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds must ensure all employees are vaccinated by Jan. 4, with no option for testing. The president has previously imposed vaccine requirements on federal workers, a group that totals more than four million people, and companies that have federal contracts. (The latter group’s deadline was pushed to Jan. 4, from early December.)
But the mandate on large private businesses is the most far-reaching and potentially controversial measure in the government’s efforts to fight the pandemic. Attorneys general in at least 24 states have