White House to Businesses: COVID-19 Vaccination or Testing By Jan. 4

A doctor or researcher with a COVID-19 vaccine
(Image credit: sinology/Getty Images)

Media companies with more than 100 employees (along with other companies of that size) must ensure that all their employees have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing by Jan. 4, the White House said, making clear that mandate pre-empts any state laws that say differently.

That is according to the Biden administration‘s new guidance on vaccination policies for all companies with a staff of more than 100 workers. "The administration is calling on all employers to ensure that as many of their workers are vaccinated as quickly as possible," the White House said.

To be fully vaccinated, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said, employees must have “either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson.”

Lacking that, employers must ensure that workers who aren’t fully vaccinated produce a verifiable negative test at least once a week.

OSHA has also mandated that any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 or is diagnosed with the virus must be removed from the workplace.

The White House is not requiring employers to pay for tests, but pointed out there could be other laws or collective bargaining agreements that do.

But OSHA has made clear that the new rules do pre-empt any “inconsistent state or local laws,” including ones that prevent employers from requiring the vaccination, masks or testing.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.