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Vaccine requirements for large private companies still weeks away, White House says

By Nikki Carvajal, CNN

The White House believes vaccine requirements for large private companies are still weeks away from being implemented, weeks after President Joe Biden announced the new mandates were coming.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration hopes to have “more detail” on the regulations “in the coming weeks.”

Asked if this signaled a delay in their rollout, Psaki said it didn’t, and that an exact timeline had never been given.

“Maybe we should have been more specific at the time,” she said. “Obviously it takes some time and we want to make sure when we put these out, they’re clear, and they provide guidance necessary to businesses.”

Earlier this month, Biden announced stringent new vaccine rules for federal workers, large employers and health care staff in a sweeping attempt to contain the latest surge of Covid-19.

He 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, an expansive step the President took after consultation with administration health officials and lawyers. Companies could face thousands of dollars in fines per employee if they don’t comply.

Psaki said she “couldn’t give a timeline,” on the regulations, but that “OSHA is working on them.”

“But obviously,” she continued, “hopefully we’ll know more in the coming weeks.”

Psaki later added that employers “should” expect the regulations to come this year.

“They should also know and understand that we’re working to ensure that these rules — regulations provide as much clarity as possible,” Psaki said. “There will still be questions, every business is dealing with different challenges, but that’s what they’re working toward and that’s what their objective is.”

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