Federal employees have until Nov. 22 to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 under President Joe Biden’s order mandating workforce vaccination, according to information released Monday by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, full vaccination is defined as two weeks after receiving the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine course.
This means that for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, feds must receive the shot by Nov. 8 to meet White House requirements. Recipients of Moderna must get their first dose by Oct. 11, and recipients of Pfizer-BioNTech by Oct. 18 in order to meet the deadline with the waiting period between doses.
The executive order does allow for exemptions from the vaccine mandate for employees “legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation,” which may include medical or religious grounds.
However, according to the CDC, most medical groups are advised to get the vaccine, as many individuals with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk from COVID-19 than the general population.
Those with severe allergic reactions to components in an mRNA vaccine are advised by the CDC to ask about receiving the J&J shot, while those allergic to components in the J&J vaccine are advised to ask about getting the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Someone who is severely allergic to components in both types of vaccines may not be able to get vaccinated at this time.
People with autoimmune conditions may receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC; however there is no currently available data on vaccine safety for such people.
And many people with underlying medical conditions are especially advised to get the vaccine, such as those with suppressed immune systems, certain disabilities and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Ultimately, CDC advises people to speak with their doctors.
The vaccine mandate also means agencies will no longer have to maintain a testing program for onsite employees or contractors, though they may continue to have one if they choose.
The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force will also issue more detailed guidance on implementation of the vaccine mandate “soon,” according to its website.
Jessie Bur covers the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees.