The COVID-19 virus is to blame for the deaths of 4,887,600 across the globe as of Oct. 18, 2021, reports the World Health Organization (WHO). With the global crisis far from over, the Biden administration has taken measures to curb the spread of the virus by issuing an executive order that calls for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Is Congress exempt from this vaccine mandate?
Biden’s order, issued on Sept. 9, 2021, states that federal employees, particularly those a part of an executive agency, are required to get vaccinated from the COVID-19 virus. As Congress is part of the legislative branch, members of it are not subject to the terms outlined in the mandate.
Congress is made up of two parts, the Senate and the House of Representatives. It currently has 535 voting members, 100 of which are part of the U.S. Senate, and 435 who are part of the U.S. House of Representatives.
When must federal employees comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate?
Reuters reports that federal employees, with few exceptions, must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, 2021. Although Congress was not included in the executive order requiring federal employees to get vaccinated, Biden has continued with his efforts to increase the U.S. vaccinated population.
In Sept. 2021, the Biden administration announced a new rule in its COVID-19 action plan that orders employers with 100 or more employees to either require their employees to become fully vaccinated or “produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis.” This new rule is being developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA is working toward getting an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) issued so that the COVID-19 vaccine mandate can take effect.
Have any members of Congress received the COVID-19 vaccine?
While some members of Congress have expressed concerns related to the COVID-19 vaccine, others have openly shared with the public that they have received it. Nancy Pelosi, the 52nd Speaker of the House of Representatives, is one of them.
On Dec. 18, 2020, Pelosi shared on Twitter photos of her receiving her COVID-19 vaccine. In her post, Pelosi said, “Today, with confidence in science & at the direction of the Office of the Attending Physician, I received the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Although there have been rumors indicating that Congress is 100-percent vaccinated, USA Today reports that proportion is “unclear,” and based on data it uncovered, it appears only “81 percent of the members of Congress have reported getting the shot.”
How many COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the U.S.?
As of Oct. 17, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 408,265,959 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. The COVID-19 vaccine is said to be "safe, effective, and free," and anyone aged 12 and older is eligible to receive it. There are different vaccines available, and healthcare providers can provide information on all types.