Travelers wearing protective masks will receive nasal swabs from nurses at a COVID-19 testing site in Terminal B of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Sunday, November 22, 2020.
Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Biden administration will end its Covid-19 vaccine mandates for federal employees, contractors and international air travelers next week.
The White House said in a statement Monday that those vaccination requirements will end on May 11, the same day the Covid public health emergency expires.
“While vaccination remains one of the most important tools to improve employee health and safety and promote workplace efficiency, we are now at a different stage in our response when these measures are no longer required,” said the white A house.
Although Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths have fallen dramatically this year, the virus is still killing more than 1,000 people a week.
The Department of Health and Human Services will also begin phasing out its vaccination mandate for health facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid, the White House said. In addition, vaccination requirements for Head Start programs will be eliminated.
And the Department of Homeland Security will lift vaccination requirements for people entering the United States via land lines with Canada and Mexico, according to the Biden administration. US citizens, nationals and permanent residents have never been subject to these requirements.
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HHS and DHS will provide more details on the end of these vaccination requirements in the coming days, the White House said.
The Biden administration has implemented immunization requirements for health workers, federal employees, contractors and international air travelers as part of an effort to increase lackluster vaccination rates and slow the spread of the virus as the Delta variant surged in late 2021, followed by Omicron in the year 2021 Winter 2022.
The mandates have met with fierce opposition and complaints from critics who have denounced the requirements as government overdoing, while the White House stressed they are essential to protecting public health.