U.S. President Joe Biden has announced new vaccine mandates that would require about a hundred million Americans to get vaccinated against Covid-19 -- that's close to two-thirds of the U.S. workforce.
Under his plan, all federal employees and private businesses with more than a hundred employees will have to get their workers vaccinated or tested weekly. Another 17 million workers at hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid social programs will also need to get their jabs.
This comes as the country, which has already seen 654,000 deaths due to Covid-19, has been facing about 160,000 new infections a day. However, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that only about 53% of Americans are fully vaccinated against the highly contagious coronavirus.
"This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Biden stressed. "We still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot. And to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against Covid-19. Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they are ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated dying from Covid in their communities. This is totally unacceptable."
National Nurses United, the largest union of registered nurses in the U.S., praised Biden's executive actions. The union, led by Fil-Am president Zenei Cortez, said it strongly believes all eligible people should be vaccinated, while respecting the need for medical and religious accommodations.
Biden's move is also in line with several initiatives by Filipino groups in Los Angeles. These include the Filipino Migrant Center that has helped lead vaccine outreach events, while finding aid for Filipinos feeling the economic and health impacts of the pandemic.
"Even with the reopening of things, it just shows our health is not really prioritized. It's about opening up the businesses and the economy. We see the need for people to be at work but ultimately we need people to be safe," Romeo Hebron of Filipino Migrant Center said.
However, Fil-Am Republican leader Marc Ang has been taking a stand against vaccination and mask mandates. For him, there are serious concerns when it comes to Covid mandates pushed forth by Democrats.
"Being an L.A. county resident as well, you get to see the terrible things they're doing that [aren't] really doing anything to curtail the spread of the virus. For example, all these mask rules," Ang claimed. "The stuff that we're doing is so extreme like not allowing people into establishments without vaccine papers. That is really getting into privacy issues and HIPAA violations. And for the average person that has medical conditions, they don’t want the public to know. This is very invasive. This should be my body, my choice so it's really frightening what's going on."
Under Biden's new initiatives, unvaccinated federal workers will have 75 days to receive their shots before they are sent to human resources.