Jan 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Unvaccinated federal employees must test for COVID weekly

Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images
Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

Unvaccinated federal employees will need to submit to weekly COVID testing beginning Feb. 15, the Biden administration announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: More than 90% of the 3.5 million federal workers had received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine ahead of Biden's deadline in November. The new guidance on testing applies to those who have received or applied for exemptions.

  • It also applies to those who are not yet fully vaccinated.
  • The administration had initially set a deadline of Nov. 22 for agencies to implement the mandate but delayed enforcement to allow people more time to get the shots, per the Washington Post.

Zoom in: Unvaccinated employees will be required to get tested for COVID any week they "work onsite or interact in person with members of the public as part of their job duties," according to the guidance.

  • Federal agencies are also permitted to implement more frequent testing for "certain roles, functions, or work environments."
  • Employees who refuse to take a required test could face several "disciplinary measures," including being barred from the workplace or being put on temporary paid leave.
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