A host of other professional groups, including the American Medical Association and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, also issued statements of support for Biden’s plan.
But the plan was not well received by all.
“I will pursue every legal option available to the state of Georgia to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden Administration,” said Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, in a Tweet.
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health called the plan “a missed opportunity” because it failed to include workplace protections for essential workers such as grocery, postal, and transit workers.
“Social distancing, improved ventilation, shift rotation, and protective equipment to reduce exposure are important components of an overall plan to reduce risk and stop the virus. These tools are missing from the new steps President Biden announced today,” said Jessica Martinez, Co-Executive Director of the group.
In addition to the new vaccination requirements, Biden said extra doses would be on the way for people who have already been fully vaccinated in order to protect against waning immunity, starting on Sept. 20. But he noted that those plans would be contingent on the FDA’s approval for third doses and the CDC’s recommendation of the shots.
Biden pledged to use the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of at-home tests, which have been selling out across the nation as the Delta variant spreads.
He also announced plans to expand access to COVID-19 testing, including offering testing for free at thousands of pharmacies nationwide and getting major retailers to sell at-home COVID-19 tests at cost.
The BinaxNow test kit, which currently retails for $23.99, will now cost about $15 for two tests at Kroger, Amazon, and Walmart, according to the White House. Food banks and community health centers will get free tests, too.
He called on states to set up COVID-19 testing programs at all schools.
Jha said that in his view, the big, game-changing news out of the president’s speech was the expansion of testing.
“Our country has failed to deploy tests in a way that can really bring this pandemic under control,” Jha said. “There are plenty of reasons, data, experience to indicate that if these were widely available, it would make a dramatic difference in reducing infection numbers across our country.”.