Sep 23, 2021 - COVID

D.C. goes further than area counties with vaccine mandates

A woman fills a COVID-19 syringe.
Photo: Frederick J. Brown for AFP via Getty Images

D.C. is cracking down on vaccine mandates for some workers, going further than surrounding counties by getting rid of test-out options for public employees. 

Why it matters: With the region's rate of partially vaccinated individuals hovering around 70%, government mandates are a key tool in fighting COVID-19. 

Driving the news: D.C. will require all school and daycare employees to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 with no test-out option. Student-athletes also must submit vaccination records to participate in school sports.

  • The District was already requiring all city employees to submit vaccine status, and get tested weekly if they're unvaccinated. Officials said this week that 87% of employees had submitted their status, with 72% of them vaccinated.
  • D.C. health care workers must this month also show proof of vaccination, with no test-out option.
Source: Local governments

Zoom out: Around the region, most other mandates give employees leeway to avoid getting vaccinated. All of these areas have a test-out option:

  • Arlington County public school and government employees were required to submit their vaccine cards by Aug. 30.
  • City of Alexandria public school and government employees are required to submit their vaccine cards by Sept. 27.
  • Fairfax County has a vaccine mandate for all government employees and public school employees by Oct. 11 as a condition of employment.
  • Montgomery County required employees to submit proof of vaccination by Sept. 18.
  • Prince George's County Public Schools required employees to show proof of vaccination by Aug. 27 or risk disciplinary action.

Of note: Montgomery County Public Schools differs from some of its neighbors by offering a test-out option only to employees with medical exemptions. It requires all employees to show proof of at least one shot by Sept. 30, and proof of a second shot by Oct. 29.

  • Student-athletes must show proof of full vaccination by Nov. 15. 
  • Counties in Virginia and Maryland are also subject to statewide rules, including a Maryland-wide vaccination mandate for nursing home and hospital employees.

What to watch: Unlike some cities — such as New York — D.C. hasn't issued a vaccine mandate yet for restaurants or other indoor venues and seems unlikely to.

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