The White House pledged to continue their push for vaccine mandates on Friday, despite the Supreme Court on Thursday saying their requirement that large companies mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all of their employees was unconstitutional.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked what "the steps the administration is going to take going forward with respect to the vaccine mandate," and "have you found that it was a success?"
In response, Psaki said that the administration would continue to press businesses to implement mandates on their employees on their own. Further, she said that the existence of the mandate itself, prior to the Supreme Court ruling, had already done much of what the administration sought, which was to get people vaccinated.
"As the President said yesterday, the Supreme Court has chosen to block common sense life saving requirements for employees. We're of course immensely disappointed by that decision. It's now up to the states and individual employers to put in that place vaccination requirements," Psaki said.
Prior to the Supreme Court taking up the case, the administration had said that they were moving forward with implementation on the mandate despite knowing that a legal challenge was coming.
In October, Biden pressed for companies to enact their own mandates in advance of the release of the OSHA ruling. "There is no reason to wait to put forth these requirements and we encourage every company to do what will boost vaccinations," a White House official said at the time.
"The administration's stated goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible. If employers mandate it before they are required to, that serves the overall goal. Employers have been able to do this for some time but many have been hesitant fearing the possible loss of employees," said Marc Freedman, vice president of workplace policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
On Friday, Psaki touted the "good news," essentially, that the mandate, though declared illegal, had been effective.
"Here are some pieces of good news and this is a little updated from yesterday: Businesses and other employers have already taken these steps. Nearly 40 percent of Fortune 100 companies have vaccine requirements. In October prior to the OSHA rule even coming out a quarter of workers in the country were already subject to a requirement from their employer," Psaki said.
"By January that number had risen to nearly 60 percent of employee of employers requiring or planning to require vaccines," Psaki said. "And since the administration began implementing requirements in July, we've gotten from 90 million to 30 million Americans unvaccinated more work to be done, no question."
And Psaki spoke with praise of the Supreme Court having upheld some of the mandate, that requiring health care workers to be vaccinated.
"It was good news that the CMS requirement for healthcare workers was kept in place that will impact 10 to 11 million. And there are a number of companies across the country that are good models. We're going to continue to echo those."