Federal employees have until Nov. 22 to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to new guidance this week from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.

The task force’s updated guidance offers more details on how to implement President Biden’s executive order (EO) from last week that expanded the Federal workforce vaccine mandate. The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force is led by the White House COVID-19 Response Team, along with the General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management.

“Federal Executive Branch employees must be fully vaccinated, except in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation. Agencies must work expeditiously so that their employees are fully vaccinated as quickly as possible and by no later than November 22, 2021,” the guidance says.

The guidance also says agencies are no longer required to set up COVID-19 testing programs for unvaccinated employees or onsite contractors, but they can still choose to do so.

Contractor Vaccinations

President Biden’s EO requires Federal contractor employees to be fully vaccinated, but the task force acknowledges that “some contractor employees may not yet be subject to a contractual requirement to be vaccinated.”

Therefore, the task force said unvaccinated onsite contractors will still need to comply with testing requirements until they are contractually obligated to get the vaccine.

“Prior to being contractually required to be vaccinated, onsite contractor employees who are not fully vaccinated and are not part of an agency testing program must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test from no later than the previous 3 days prior to entry to a Federal Building,” the guidance says.

The EO instructs the Office of Management and Budget to publish guidance for contractors’ vaccine mandate in the Federal Register. Additionally, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council will amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to include the vaccine mandate in Federal procurement solicitations and contracts.

Agency acquisition offices have until Oct. 8 to begin including the vaccine mandate in contracts.

According to President Biden’s vaccination EO issued last week, the task force has a deadline of Sept. 24 to release further details about the mandate for contractors.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.