The White House announced today it is pushing back the deadline for Federal contractors to receive their COVID-19 vaccine until January 4.


The initial deadline for Federal contractors to be fully vaccinated was December 8. However, the new guidance aims to align the Federal contractors’ deadline with new vaccine guidance for the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).


“To make it easy for all employers to comply with the requirements, the deadline for the Federal contractor vaccination requirement will be aligned with those for the CMS rule and the ETS [emergency temporary standard,]” the White House said in a fact-sheet. “Employees falling under the ETS, CMS, or Federal contractor rules will need to have their final vaccination dose – either their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or single dose of Johnson & Johnson – by January 4, 2022.”


“This will make it easier for employers to ensure their workforce is vaccinated, safe, and healthy, and ensure that Federal contractors implement their requirements on the same timeline as other employers in their industries,” the White House said.


OSHA’s ETS applies to employers with 100 or more employees, and those who refuse to receive the vaccine will need to produce a negative test weekly. OSHA’s rule will cover 84 million employees.


The CMS vaccine mandate applies to health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare or Medicaid programs, covering more than 17 million workers at approximately 76,000 health care facilities.


The latest guidance from the White House’s Safer Federal Workforce Task Force gave Federal contractors more flexibility to enforce the vaccine mandate.


“A covered contractor should determine the appropriate means of enforcement with respect to its employee at a covered contractor workplace who refuses to be vaccinated and has not been provided, or does not have a pending request for, an accommodation,” the new guidance said.


The guidance also noted that “covered contractors are expected to comply with all requirements set forth in their contract,” and an agency contracting officer may terminate a contract if the contractor refuses to comply with “COVID-19 workplace safety protocols.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.