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Gina Raimondo. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that delaying the establishment of vaccine mandate deadlines until after the holidays would be a "big mistake."

Why it matters: In September, the Biden administration announced it would be working with the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require vaccinations or once-a-week testing for companies with more than 100 employees.

  • The vaccine mandate deadlines for federal workers and contractors are approaching rapidly, on Nov. 22 and Dec. 8, respectively.
  • The deadline for the private sector mandate is set to be rolled out in the coming weeks, and dozens of groups have sought meetings with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), with some asking for implementation to be delayed until after the holidays, per the Washington Post.

The big picture: Host Margaret Brennan pointed out that some retailers and businesses have pushed back against potentially imposing deadlines ahead of the holiday season for fear of exacerbating labor shortages.

  • Brennan also pointed to remarks by White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients last week, who noted that the rules for the private sector would be finalized soon and that the administration is creating "flexibility" in the system.

What they're saying: "I think that would be a big mistake," Raimondo said when asked about the possibility of delaying the deadline until after the holiday season.

  • "People want to work in a workplace where they feel safe. ... The best thing we can do to get people back to work is to make sure everybody is vaccinated."

Go deeper

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Nov 29, 2021 - Health

Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world

Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

The emergence of the Omicron variant is bringing new urgency to global vaccination efforts.

Why it matters: New variants can emerge anywhere, and can spread everywhere. Getting doses to the developing world — and getting those doses into people's arms — is essential, and that effort has so far been lagging.

15 hours ago - Health

CDC strengthens COVID booster recommendation

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday strengthened its previous recommendation for booster shots, saying that everyone 18 and older "should" receive a booster dose.

Why it matters: Last month, CDC director Rochelle Walensky accepted a key advisory committee's recommendation that adults "may" get the shot. The slight, but strengthened, change in wording comes amid the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant.