CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – President Biden ordered a sweeping new federal vaccine requirement.
Impacting nearly 100 million Americans.
“Many of us are frustrated with the 80 million that are still not vaccinated, even though it’s safe and free,” the President said.
The requirement said all 9 million federal and contract workers must be vaccinated, or face losing their jobs. Private sector companies with over 100 employees must require vaccinations or weekly testing. That impacts 80 million workers, and businesses that don’t comply could face fines.
Awais Vaid is with the Champaign Urbana Public Health District. He said it’s a positive step.
“It’s an encouraging sign, and I know the details are still waiting on how it will be implemented, but the direction has been given. Businesses with at least 100 employees need to require the employees to get vaccinated, or they will have to continue to get tested. Again, like I said, it is a move in the right direction,” Vaid said.
Vaid said since the announcement, there has been an uptick in vaccinations across the board.
“We have enough data right now that the vaccines are really working to prevent hospitalizations and deaths. So, all of that factored in now people are realizing it might be time to get it,” he said.
He said Champaign County has a good vaccination rate, but it will be hard to make it to the other side of the pandemic if more people don’t get the vaccine.
“We are not living in a bubble. People are traveling to Chicago, people are traveling all across, people come in. So, if we are not able to get those vaccinated of people living outside the county, then, in the long term, it’s not going to benefit anyone,” he said.
There are exemptions to getting the vaccine. You can have a medical or religious exemption. Vaid said only about 5% of the entire population will be granted an exemption.