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Biden administration considering using federal authorities to promote vaccinations

Nursing homes are among the institutions that could come under federal pressure, a source familiar with the discussions said.
Image: Covid Vaccine
A student receives a Covid vaccine on the University of Washington campus in Seattle in May.David Ryder / Getty Images file

The Biden administration is discussing using federal authorities and regulatory powers, including withholding federal funds, to try to persuade institutions to require their employees to get Covid vaccinations, a person familiar with the deliberations said.

Nursing homes are among the institutions that could come under federal pressure, but there is no discussion of including cruise lines or universities in any such plans, the source said.

The conversations are just preliminary, and the idea is among many the administration is considering to boost vaccinations, the source said.

“As we always are, the Covid response team is discussing a host of different measures we can continue to boost vaccinations across the country," a White House official told NBC News. "Any reported ideas under consideration are in early conversations and pre-decisional. There are no imminent policy decisions as to preview at this time.”

The Washington Post first reported on the administration’s discussions.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle on Friday that the administration is “starting to consider different approaches, more creative approaches.”

“I know the president’s team on Covid is trying to be as creative as possible in considering all options,” Raimondo said. “And so yes, everything is being considered, obviously in a very thoughtful way, because we want to get this right.”