Defense sector reacts to new vaccine mandates for federal contractors

WASHINGTON ― President Joe Biden on Thursday introduced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements impacting as several as 100 million Americans in an all-out work to boost COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.

Biden announced the necessities in a Thursday afternoon address from the White Household as element of a new “action plan” to tackle the most recent increase in coronavirus situations and the stagnating pace of COVID-19 pictures.

The expansive procedures mandate that all businesses with far more than 100 workers involve them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, influencing about 80 million Us residents.

Biden also signed an govt get to demand vaccination for staff members of the government branch and contractors who do small business with the federal government — with no selection to take a look at out. That addresses many million a lot more staff.

“If you want to function with the federal federal government, do organization with us? Get vaccinated,” Biden explained.

The mandate could have sweeping implications for the defense marketplace, which incorporates most of the biggest government contractors. A single trade team, the National Protection Industrial Affiliation, instantly hailed the Biden administration’s move.

“The very best scenario for the defense industrial base is to conquer Covid and be absolutely functioning and flourishing. These orders will enable us all get there,” NDIA reported in a statement, including that the organization has inspired any person doing the job in protection to get vaccinated and observe mask mandates and protocols.

“NDIA has supported individual firm and condition direction for workers, and now does the identical for the federal mandate,” the firm extra.

The Aerospace Industries Affiliation said it will perform with the administration and federal companies to realize what Biden’s govt get indicates for its members employees and functions.

“Our members have been proactive in encouraging vaccines and generating information about them readily available to their workforce. They’ve also executed intensive measures to improve workplace overall health and security all over the pandemic,” claimed an AIA spokeswoman.

For some defense corporations, the mandate dovetails with efforts underway. For example, Reston, Va.-centered Leidos said in a statement it already announced internally that all of its employees would have to have to be vaccinated by Oct. 1 or supply a damaging COVID-19 take a look at end result to obtain a Leidos facility.

“We will assessment and appropriately tackle any [executive orders] that come out from the administration,” the corporation mentioned in an e mail.

Protection industry titan Lockheed Martin mentioned in a assertion it would go on to comply with government directives aimed at ending the pandemic.

“As we have performed throughout the pandemic, we go on to abide by federal, state and area mandates, and the U.S. Centers for Condition Manage and Avoidance (CDC), to minimize the distribute of COVID-19,” the company explained in a assertion immediately after Biden’s announcement. “We also use other finest practices to mitigate threats and safeguard the health and fitness and effectively-being of our employees and associates, when making certain we meet up with our commitments to national stability.”

In a statement, defense contractor BAE Devices mentioned the enterprise is “aware of the govt purchase, and we are performing to realize its impression on our business enterprise.”

“We have been and will continue to motivate our workers who are ready to get vaccinated from COVID-19, to do so,” the contractor additional.

A number of lawmakers right away lashed out towards the moves, together with New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, a senior member of the Home Armed Solutions Committee, who named it a “forced illegal mandate.”

“Joe Biden’s compelled vaccine mandate impacting in excess of 100 million Americans is unconstitutional, unlawful, and an authoritarian power seize that has come to be a hallmark of his failed Presidency,” Stefanik claimed in a statement.

Democratic Rep. Don Beyer, whose Virginia district is packed with federal staff and contractors, stated the new moves have been “absolutely the suitable simply call by President Biden.”

“Requiring each federal worker and contractor to obtain a harmless, cost-free, lifesaving Covid vaccination is a important and critical phase to defend each the federal workforce and the folks they serve,” he stated.

Joe Gould is the Congress reporter for Protection News.

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