Public Health

More than 90% of federal employees have received at least one dose

United States President Joe Biden speaks about 50 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine administered in the United States during a milestone commemoration event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, February 25, 2021.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Over 90% of the more than 3.5 million federal employees covered by President Joe Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate will have received at least one dose by the government deadline, said Jeff Zients, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Jeff Zients at a briefing on Monday.

The “vast majority of these employees” are fully vaccinated and are meeting the Biden administration’s November 22 deadline for all federal employees to complete their Covid vaccinations, a senior administration official wrote in an email to CNBC. The federal workforce has met 95% of the requirements between those who received at least one dose of vaccine and those who requested an exemption or an extension of the deadline, the official added.

“We are successfully enforcing vaccination requirements for the largest workforce in the United States, with federal employees all over the country and around the world,” said Zients.

Zients reported that the FBI and Federal Aviation Administration are about 99% mandated, and the IRS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection about 98%. About 93% of the Transportation Security Administration workers also obeyed, Zients said.

Federal staff who have not been vaccinated or provided proof of vaccination against the virus could eventually be fired, according to guidelines posted on the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force website.

“Employees who violate lawful orders are subject to disciplinary action, including termination or dismissal,” the task force wrote.

Government agencies are now beginning an “education and counseling process” for their non-compliant employees, Zients noted. The task force advises that agencies spend five days on the education process before issuing a suspension of up to 14 days to workers who repeatedly refuse to be vaccinated or to provide required documentation.

“If non-compliance continues during suspension, a proposed removal may be proposed,” the task force wrote.

The Office of Management and Budget will release a table on Wednesday that will summarize the percentage of staff from each agency who have complied with the mandate, the official said.

The White House announcement came after a federal appeals court forced the Biden government to suspend its vaccination and testing mandates for private companies. These occupational safety and health agency rules apply to any company with at least 100 employees and require their employees to submit negative Covid tests weekly unless they are fully vaccinated by January 4th. Unvaccinated workers were required to wear masks indoors at work starting December 5.

The American Federation of Government Employees, a union that represents approximately 700,000 government employees, also last week urged the Biden government to postpone the deadline for federal workers. The new deadline proposed by AFGE would fall on January 4, so government officials can get their shots until after the holidays.

CNBC’s Leslie Josephs and Spencer Kimball contributed to this coverage.

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