Biden vaccine rules are boosting first-time COVID-19 shots - White House

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, on her first day back after testing positive for COVID-19, speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 12, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque     

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WASHINGTON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden's vaccine requirements are prompting more Americans to get COVID-19 shots, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.

"In the past week, we’re averaging nearly 300,000 first shots" per day for people aged 12 and over, Psaki said, up from less than 250,000 first shots per day in mid-July, before Biden first discussed vaccine requirements.

Biden announced on Sept. 9 vaccination mandates for workers at federal contractors and said workers at big private employers need to be vaccinated or tested. Republican governors and attorneys general are opposing the rules, calling them presidential overreach, and plan to file suits to block them.

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The White House this month extended a deadline for companies to comply with the requirements to Jan. 4, and said it believes the mandates have legal standing.

More than 750,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, more deaths than in any other country. An average of over 1,000 people are dying every day from the disease in the U.S., most of them unvaccinated; 79% of Americans age 12 and up have gotten at least one vaccine shot.

"It’s clear these requirements, driven by the president’s leadership, are getting more people vaccinated," she said. They are "going to continue to accelerate our path out of the pandemic."

The White House said Friday that over 27 million Americans had received a vaccine booster shot.

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Reporting by Andrea Shalal; writing by Heather Timmons; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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