WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A total of 92% of U.S. federal workers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, in compliance with the administration’s mandate, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said Wednesday.
Overall, 96.5% of the 3.5 million federal workers were considered to be in compliance with the administration’s mandate because they either were vaccinated or had an exemption request either granted or under consideration.
“This sends the clear message to businesses to move forward with similar measures that will protect their workforce, customers, and communities,” White House spokesman Kevin Munoz tweeted.
The Department of Agriculture and Social Security Administration lagged among U.S. federal agencies whose employees have received at least one COVID-19 shot, at 86.1% and 87.7, respectively, the White House OMB said.
The U.S. Agency for International Development led federal agencies among those tallied in reporting that its employees have had at least one COVID-19 shot at 97.8%, the OMB said.
The figures suggest relatively high vaccination rates for federal employees compared with the U.S. population as a whole, and underscore the Biden administration’s effort to get every American inoculated in a drive to bring COVID-19 under control.
A total of 82.1% of Americans aged 18 or older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose, according to the latest U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
At the Defense Department, 93.4% of employees, including civilians and active duty personnel, have received at least one shot of the vaccine, according to the OMB tally.
The Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday that 96.4% of its more than 88,000 employees are vaccinated and 95% are fully vaccinated, meaning they are at least two weeks past a two-dose or one-dose vaccine.
The White House has told agencies https://www.saferfederalworkforce.gov/faq/vaccinations that for federal employees not in compliance, agencies should begin “a brief period of education and counseling” to last five days. If employees do not “demonstrate progress toward becoming fully vaccinated,” that “should be followed by a short suspension” of no more than 14 days. If an employee gets a first shot, agencies are directed to halt any disciplinary action.
The White House has said that if a federal employee has an exemption request pending and it is ultimately denied, they will get another two weeks from that point to get a first shot.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz, David Shepardson and Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Bernadette Baum)