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Biden heads to Chicago to push Covid-19 vaccine requirements – CNN

(CNN)President Joe Biden is set to travel to Illinois on Thursday as part of his administration’s push for Covid-19 vaccine requirements, hours after the White House released a report bolstering its push for vaccine requirements in conjunction with the trip.

The White House report released on Thursday points to a rise in vaccination rates as evidence the Biden administration’s vaccine campaign has “saved over 100,000 lives and prevented 450,000 hospitalizations.”

“The President’s message will be clear: Vaccination requirements work. Vaccination requirements get more people vaccinated, helping to end the pandemic and strengthen the economy,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in a preview of the trip. “That’s why he’s leading and implementing vaccination requirements for 100 million workers, two-thirds of all workers in the United States, and that’s why we’re seeing growing momentum for vaccination requirements across the sectors and across the country.”

    In Chicago, Biden is expected to meet with Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, all of whom have enthusiastically voiced support for Covid requirements.

      Biden will then tour a Clayco construction site in Elk Village, Illinois, where, per the White House, Clayco “will announce their strong support of the President’s plan to require vaccinations or weekly testing, and importantly, they will implement a system of vaccinations or testing to all of their employees, in line with the President’s requirements.”

        The 26-page report highlights support for vaccine requirements across business and labor communities, and points to what it says is data demonstrating vaccine requirements have already cut the number of unvaccinated Americans by one-third since late July, from 95 million to 67 million.

        The report also details the positive economic effects among communities with high vaccination rates, including that “small business employee hours grew faster and stayed higher during the rise of the Delta variant in the states that have higher working-age vaccination rates, versus states with lower vaccination rates.”

          “As this report demonstrates, it is clear that vaccination requirements result in millions more people getting vaccinated. Without vaccination requirements, we face endless months of chaos in our hospitals, further detrimental impacts on our economy, and anxiety in our schools. With them, we will accelerate our path out of the pandemic,” the report states.

          In September, the President announced stringent new vaccine rules for federal workers, large employers and health care staff.

            Biden directed the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require all businesses with 100 or more employees ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested once a week. Companies could face thousands of dollars in fines per employee if they don’t comply.

            A CNN poll conducted by SSRS in August and September found that more than half of Americans now say they support requiring vaccinations for office workers returning to the workplace (54%), students attending in-person classes (55%) and patrons attending sporting events or concerts (55%), although fewer (41%) support requiring vaccinations for a shopper to enter a grocery store.

            CNN’s Nikki Carvajal contributed to this report.

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