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President Biden speaks on workers' rights and labor unions at the White House on Sept. 8. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

More than 80 million Americans working in the private sector will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or produce a negative test result at least once a week, a senior Biden administration official said Thursday.

Why it matters: The new rule, to be developed by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), underscores the Biden administration's ramped-up efforts to control the virus as cases and hospitalizations largely driven by the Delta variant surge nationwide.

Driving the news: OSHA is developing the rule that will require vaccinations or once-a-week testing for companies with more than 100 employees, set to be implemented in the coming weeks, per the White House official.

The big picture: The Biden administration unveiled a six-pronged plan to respond to the virus on Thursday, which includes efforts to encourage vaccinations and bolster protections for the vaccinated, among other areas.

  • Health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals and other health care settings — more than 17 million people — will also be required to get vaccinated.
  • The administration is also preparing boosters to start as early as the week of Sept. 20.
  • President Biden will also sign an executive order requiring most federal employees to get the COVID vaccine, without the option of getting regular testing instead, Axios previously reported.

Other components of the six-part plan include:

  • Urging large entertainment venues to require proof of vaccination or testing for entry.
  • Requiring staff in school settings — including at the Head Start programs, youth program personnel at the Department of Defense and at the Bureau of Indian Education-Operated Schools — to be vaccinated.
  • Providing funding to school districts to support reopening, including backfilling salaries.
  • Bolstering COVID-19 testing, including increasing supply of over-the-counter at-home tests, and reducing the cost of at-home tests by ensuring top manufacturers — Walmart, Amazon and Kroger — sell at-cost for the next three months.

What to watch: Biden is expected to announce the plan during a speech scheduled for 5pm ET Thursday.

Read the full plan here:

Go deeper: Biden to mandate COVID vaccines for federal workers, with no option for testing

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February — FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated."
  2. Vaccines: The shifting definition of fully vaccinated — Annual vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO — Team USA 100% vaccinated ahead of Beijing Olympics.
  3. Politics: Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate — Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance — Arizona governor sues Biden administration over funds tied to mandates.
  4. World: Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games — Beijing officials urge "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics — Austria approves vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Dec 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The decline of standardized testing

SAT test prep books. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Image

Harvard University announced on Thursday that it will not require SAT or ACT scores for admission through the next four years.

Why it matters: The shift adds more momentum to the move in higher education away from using standardized test scores as a major bar for admission, partially in the name of improving equity.

1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.