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IBM said on Thursday it requires all US employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8, or they will face unpaid suspension.

This comes in the light of US President Joe Biden's mandate last month ordering all federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated.

IBM, which is a federal contractor, has tens of thousands of U.S. employees.

IBM had previously said it would allow only fully vaccinated U.S. employees to return to offices. However, the new policy applies to all U.S. employees, even those working from home. Some can, however, claim exemption from the rule on medical and religious grounds.

With the resurgence of cases due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, major tech companies including Facebook Inc, Google, and Microsoft Corp have also mandated vaccinations for employees.

President Joe Biden escalated his campaign to pressure private employers into imposing coronavirus vaccination mandates in a trip to a Chicago suburb, saying shots would save lives and boost the economy.

 “I’m calling on more employers to act," Biden said Thursday in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. “My message is require your employees to get vaccinated. With vaccinations, we’re going to beat this pandemic."

Biden is seeking to increase the vaccination rate as public approval of his handling of the pandemic has been falling. The president said his administration would soon issue regulations to implement a plan he announced last month to require businesses with more than 100 employees to ensure workers are fully vaccinated or face weekly testing.

A growing number of places across the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City, are requiring people to show proof of vaccination to enter various types of businesses and venues.

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