Federal agencies close to 100% compliance with vaccine mandate as enforcement begins

The federal government is at 96.5% compliance with the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees and contractors, including civilian and military personnel.

Monday was the deadline to get vaccinated, and as of yesterday, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the departments of Commerce, Transportation, the Office of Personnel Management and the Small Business Administration all have at least 99% compliance with the mandate among employees. That includes the percentage of agency employees covered by a vaccination requirement with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, or a pending or approved exception or extension. Again, that’s for compliance — when it comes to actual vaccination or employees with at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, the compliance rates hovered between 86.1% and 97.8%.

The agency with the highest vaccination rate was USAID, while the lowest was in the Agriculture Department, according to the data. Overall, 92.0% of federal employees have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose.

The Office of Management and Budget released new agency compliance data today, and said it would update the numbers as more employees become compliant or receive exemptions.

OMB said that for those who are not yet in compliance, agencies are beginning a period of education and counseling, followed by additional enforcement in keeping with guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force and OPM.

“At any point, if an employee gets their first shot or submits an exception request, agencies will pause further enforcement to give the employee a reasonable amount of time to become fully vaccinated or to process the exception request. This next stage of the process will not result in disruptions to government services and operations and will result in more employees becoming vaccinated,” OMB said.

Some agencies, including the Veterans Health Administration, had their own mandates or earlier deadlines, while federal buildings owned or leased by the General Services Administration are not requiring employee or contractor vaccination status as a condition of entry. However, as of last week, most of the 12,000 companies who do business with the government via the GSA schedules had agreed to implement the mandate, Federal News Network previously reported.

The President of the National Treasury Employees Union Tony Reardon said in a statement that his organization had long-encouraged employees to get vaccinated and that they welcomed the compliance rates.

“Frontline federal employees are fully aware of the unique role they play in delivering government services to the American people, especially during a global health crisis,” he said. “For those who have raised religious or medical reasons that they should remain unvaccinated, we hope the agencies process those requests quickly and provide whatever accommodations are necessary to maintain employee safety in the workplace. For the small minority who have not requested an exemption and are still unvaccinated, there is still time for them to change their minds and avoid potential disciplinary action.”

Chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee Gerry Connolly, whose Virginia district includes many federal employees, also reacted to the news:

“As we have seen throughout the pandemic, federal employees remain ready to serve — with public health at the forefront. Nearly all federal employees (92%) are vaxxed – with a vaccine developed in part by their fellow federal employees. Civil servants hold positions of public trust and are meeting this moment. Feds are role models ready to tackle any challenge,” he said in a statement.

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