Covid-19 News: Vaccine and Booster Updates

ImagePresident Biden’s mandate was part of an aggressive effort to respond to the Delta variant.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

More than 90 percent of federal employees will have had at least one coronavirus vaccine shot by the end of Monday, the deadline set by President Biden when he announced vaccine mandates earlier this fall, according to a senior administration official.

The vast majority of those employees are fully vaccinated, and an additional 5 percent of employees are seeking or already have an exception or an extension, the official said. The news was first reported by Reuters.

This means the Biden administration will have achieved 95 percent compliance with the president’s requirement that federal employees have at least one shot or have an approved or pending exception or extension request by Nov. 22, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview an announcement that White House officials will make later in the day.

Mr. Biden’s mandate for federal workers, announced in September, was part of an aggressive effort to combat the spread of the Delta variant, which has driven caseloads up to levels last recorded a year ago, before vaccines were widely available. The president also mandated vaccination for health care workers and ordered all companies with more than 100 workers to require vaccination or weekly testing for their employees.

“We’ve been patient,” Mr. Biden said then, in a pointed message to people who refused to be vaccinated. “But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us.”

More than 3.5 million federal workers, both in the United States and around the world, are covered by Mr. Biden’s mandate. Employees who have not complied, and do not have a pending or approved exception or extension request, will be expected to undergo education and counseling, the official said, followed by “additional enforcement steps.”

On Wednesday morning, the Office of Management and Budget will release data on the percentage of employees at each agency who are in compliance with the requirement.

A personnel change in the White House’s coronavirus team is expected next week. On Monday, Dr. Bechara Choucair, the former Chicago health commissioner whom Mr. Biden brought in to oversee the vaccination effort, will leave the administration, according to Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.

Dr. Choucair was a senior executive at Kaiser Permanente before joining Mr. Biden’s staff and is “returning to the West Coast after staying longer than originally planned,” Mr. Zients said.

Credit…Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

VIENNA — As Europe experiences a menacing fourth wave of the coronavirus, Austria entered a nationwide lockdown on Monday and the possibility of a vaccine mandate in Germany was under discussion as the only way to sustainably overcome the pandemic.

“Probably by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said,” the German health minister, Jens Spahn, said on Monday, “pretty much everyone in Germany…

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