WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – The Biden administration said most federal employees must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no later than Nov 22 as it drafts rules to require large employers to have their workers inoculated or tested weekly.
President Joe Biden last week signed an executive order requiring federal employees who work in the Executive Branch to be fully vaccinated with certain limited exceptions.
In guidance to federal agencies posted on a federal website on Monday, the Biden administration said agencies should move “expeditiously so that their employees are fully vaccinated as quickly as possible and by no later than Nov 22.”
In July, Biden said federal workers had to get vaccinated or face regular Covid-19 testing, along with other safety rules such as mandatory face covering at workplaces and restrictions on official travel.
The recent surge in US Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths caused by the Delta variant of the virus moved the administration to take a tougher stance on vaccines, which they see as the best way to protect the economy and end the pandemic.
Federal regulators are separately drafting an emergency temporary standard covering more than 80 million private sector employees who work for businesses with more than 100 workers.
Biden also on Thursday signed an executive order requiring vaccines for millions of federal contractors “that do business with the federal government.”
Some major companies are still unclear if they are covered under the contractor mandate executive order, while one major business group on Monday asked for answers to numerous questions surrounding the planned requirements for private sector employers.
By Sept 24, a White House task force will provide new guidance about what contractors must do and who is covered, Biden’s order says.