Nov 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

More than 90% of federal workers got COVID shot before deadline

A heath care worker preparing a dose of coronavirus vaccine in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Nov. 17.
A health care worker preparing a dose of coronavirus vaccine in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Nov. 17. Photo: Nick Oxford/Bloomberg via Getty Images

More than 90% of the 3.5 million federal workers received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Monday, the deadline set by President Biden in September, a senior administration official told Axios.

Why it matters: The official said the administration hopes that private businesses can use the federal government's worker vaccine mandate as an example to implement their own requirements for workers.

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a rule on Nov. 4 that would require large companies to mandate COVID vaccines for employees or impose weekly testing or face federal fines, but that mandate has been placed on hold after being challenged by multiple states in court.

What they're saying: "These numbers make one thing perfectly clear: vaccination requirements work," the administration official said in a statement.

  • "We have done this with the largest workforce in the United States, with more than 3.5 million covered employees across the country and around the world in diverse roles. And we have done this without disruptions to critical services people depend on," the official added.

The big picture: 95% of federal workers have received at least one vaccination dose or have a pending exemption or extension request.

  • Biden signed an executive order on Sept. 9 that required all federal workers to get vaccinated within 75 days. The order did not give workers the option to get regularly tested instead, though it did offer medical or religious exemptions.

What's next: The official said the Office of Management and Budget will release a chart Wednesday that will summarize agency compliance rates.

Go deeper: Health groups urge businesses to voluntarily implement Biden's vaccine rule

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