Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Vaccinations

NewQ: By what date do Federal employees need to be fully vaccinated?

A: Federal employees need to be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021.

Employees will be considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 2 weeks after they have received the requisite number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved or authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or that has been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization. For Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or AstraZeneca/Oxford, that is 2 weeks after an employee has received the second dose in a 2-dose series. For Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen, that is 2 weeks after an employee has received a single-dose.

More information is available at Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC.

NewQ: By what date do Federal employees need to have had their doses of a COVID-19 vaccination?

A: Federal employees must receive their last dose of their vaccine no later than November 8, 2021, to meet the November 22, 2021 deadline to be fully vaccinated.

The timing between the first and second shots depends on which vaccine is received.

If someone receives the:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, then that person should get their second shot 3 weeks (or 21 days) after the first. This means for Federal employees to meet the vaccination deadline, they should receive their first vaccination no later than October 18. They would not be eligible for the second dose until November 8, which is the deadline by which they need to have received both shots.
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, then that person should get their second shot 4 weeks (or 28 days) after their first. This means for Federal employees to meet the vaccination deadline, they should receive their first vaccination no later than October 11. They would not be eligible for the second dose until November 8, which is the deadline by which they need to have received both shots.

Since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only has one shot, Federal employees have until November 8 to receive that shot and still meet the November 22, 2021 deadline to be fully vaccinated.

Depending on employees’ locations, they may not have all types of vaccines available to them. Agencies should encourage employees to plan ahead and allow enough time to receive all required vaccine doses before the November 8 deadline to have their second shot.

NewQ: By what date do individuals who start their government service after November 22, 2021 need to be fully vaccinated?

A: Individuals who start their government service after November 22, 2021, need to be fully vaccinated prior to their start date, except in limited circumstances where a reasonable accommodation is legally required. However, should an agency have an urgent, mission-critical hiring need to onboard new staff prior to those new staff becoming fully vaccinated, the agency head may approve an exception—in the case of such limited hiring exceptions, new hires need to be vaccinated within 60 days of their start date and follow safety protocols for not fully vaccinated individuals until they are fully vaccinated.

As soon as possible, agencies should ensure that individuals who will or may start their government service prior to November 22, 2021 are aware of the requirement to be fully vaccinated by that date.

NewQ: To what types of Federal employees does the vaccination requirement apply?

A: The vaccination requirement in Executive Order 14043 (Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees) covers employees as defined in 5 U.S.C. 2105 (including an employee paid from nonappropriated funds as referenced in 5 U.S.C. 2105(c)). Agencies are strongly encouraged to require vaccinations for any employees or other personnel working under an agreement with an agency not covered by the Executive Order, consistent with applicable law and in consultation with the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. Implementation of such additional requirements should generally follow the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force’s guidance for implementing the vaccination requirement in Executive Order 14043.

NewQ: Does the requirement to be vaccinated apply to Federal employees who are not reporting to the worksite (e.g., are on maximum telework or working remotely)?

A: Yes. To protect the health and safety of the Federal workforce and to promote the efficiency of the civil service, all Federal employees covered by Executive Order 14043 and without a legally required exception need to be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021, regardless of where they are working. Employees who are on maximum telework or working remotely are not excused from this requirement, including because employees working offsite may interact with the public as part of their duties and agencies may need to recall employees who are on maximum telework or working remotely.

NewQ: Do agencies need to provide onsite vaccinations to their employees?

A: No. Agencies should take steps to make their employees aware of convenient opportunities to be vaccinated. Given the widespread availability of vaccinations, it is not required that agencies provide vaccinations at their facilities or worksites, although agencies may choose to do so.

NewQ: Must agencies require documentation from employees to prove vaccination status?

A: Yes, agencies must require documentation from employees to prove vaccination, even if an employee has previously attested to their vaccination status. Employees may provide a copy of the record of immunization from a health care provider or pharmacy, a copy of the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, a copy of medical records documenting the vaccination, a copy of immunization records from a public health or state immunization information system, or a copy of any other official documentation containing required data points. The data that must be on any official documentation are the type of vaccine administered, date(s) of administration, and the name of the health care professional(s) or clinic site(s) administering the vaccine(s). Employees must certify under penalty of perjury that the documentation they are submitting is true and correct.

Employees may provide a digital copy of such records, including, for example, a digital photograph, scanned image, or PDF of such a record that clearly and legibly displays the information outlined above. In requesting this information, agencies should comply with any applicable Federal laws, including requirements under the Privacy Act and Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

NewQ: How should agencies maintain documentation provided by employees regarding vaccination?

A: Agencies must collect certain information necessary to verify that an employee is fully vaccinated. This includes the type of vaccine administered, the number of doses received, date of administration of each dose, and the submission of an approved form of required documentation, as set forth in this guidance. When providing this information, employees must also be required to certify under penalty of perjury that the information they are submitting is true and correct.

Agencies have unique operational environments and may develop their own processes to both collect and maintain the required information, in compliance with all applicable laws and in accordance with their agency record management policies. Accordingly, agencies may develop and use new processes, systems, tools, and applications to collect and maintain the required information or choose to leverage existing processes, systems, tools, or applications previously established to collect Certification of Vaccination forms. Agency systems, processes, tools, and applications for the collection of this information must allow an employee to update their vaccination status and related information.

The collection and use of this information for many agencies is subject to the OPM/GOVT-10 Employee Medical File system of records notice (SORN) and OPM regulations (5 C.F.R. part 293, subpart E). Under those rules, each agency must have written instructions for its EMF system with appropriate safeguards. Employees must be provided with a Privacy Act statement at the point of collection of this information. Agencies that are not subject to OPM’s regulations (or who employ categories of employees not covered by OPM/GOVT-10) must give their employees an alternative Privacy Act statement. As a general rule, this information should not be maintained in the Official Personnel Folder.

Agencies are encouraged to take steps to promote privacy and IT security, while also providing the relevant information to those who need to know in order to implement the safety protocols. Agencies should consult with their Agency Records Officer, Chief Information Officer, Senior Agency Official for Privacy, and agency’s legal counsel to determine the best means to maintain this information to meet the agency’s needs.

Q: Which individuals within an agency should have access to information on employees’ vaccination status?

A: The Privacy Act permits disclosure within the agency to employees “who have a need for the record in the performance of their duties.” 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(1). Agencies should only disseminate information to the appropriate agency officials who have a need to know to ensure effective implementation of the safety protocols, which, in many cases, will include the supervisor level. Agencies must comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act at all times. Agencies should consult with their Senior Agency Official for Privacy on any questions related to Privacy Act requirements.

NewQ: Should agencies require documentation from visitors to verify their attestation of vaccination status?

A: Visitors (except those seeking a public benefit or service, who do not need to attest to or otherwise document vaccination status) must attest to their vaccination status using the Certification of Vaccination form, but agencies should not ask them for documentation to verify their attestation.

NewQ: Should agencies require documentation from onsite contractor employees to verify their attestation of vaccination status?

A: Prior to contractor employees being subject to a contractual requirement to be vaccinated, onsite contractor employees need only attest to their vaccination status using the Certification of Vaccination form.

For onsite contractor employees who are not yet subject to a contractual requirement to be vaccinated, agencies should not ask them for documentation to verify their attestation. When a contractor employee discloses that they are unvaccinated or declines to complete the attestation, agencies should treat that individual as not fully vaccinated for purposes of implementing safety measures.

If the agency has reasonable grounds to believe that an onsite contractor employee made a false statement on the Certification of Vaccination form, the agency may require that the contractor verify the contractor employee’s vaccination documentation and confirm to the agency that the employee has been vaccinated, as part of the agency’s review of the matter. If an onsite contractor employee who has attested to being vaccinated exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 illness, the agency should apply its safety protocols, but this is not an appropriate reason to request documentation to verify vaccination status.

NewQ: Are there exceptions to the requirement for all employees to be fully vaccinated?

A: Federal employees must be fully vaccinated other than in limited circumstances where the law requires an exception. In particular, an agency may be required to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees who communicate to the agency that they are not vaccinated against COVID-19 because of a disability or because of a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. Determining whether an exception is legally required will include consideration of factors such as the basis for the claim; the nature of the employee’s job responsibilities; and the reasonably foreseeable effects on the agency’s operations, including protecting other agency employees and the public from COVID-19. Because such assessments will be fact- and context-dependent, agencies are encouraged to consult their offices of general counsel with questions related to assessing and implementing any such requested accommodations. Additional guidance on legally required exceptions will be forthcoming.

NewQ: What steps may an agency take if a Federal employee refuses to be vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination?

A: As an initial matter, an agency should provide employees with information regarding the benefits of vaccination and ways to obtain the vaccine. If the individual continues to refuse to be vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination, the agency should pursue disciplinary measures, up to and including removal from Federal service. In pursuing any adverse action, the agency must provide the required procedural rights to an employee and follow normal processes, including any agency policies or collective bargaining agreement requirements concerning disciplinary matters. Employees should not be placed on administrative leave while pursuing an adverse action for refusal to be vaccinated, but will be required to follow safety protocols for employees who are not fully vaccinated when reporting to agency worksites.

An agency should follow a different process if the employee claims a legally required exception as the reason for not being vaccinated or providing proof of vaccination. In that case, an agency should follow its ordinary process to review and consider what, if any, reasonable accommodation it must offer. All agency personnel designated to receive requests for reasonable accommodations should know how to handle requests consistent with any Federal employment nondiscrimination laws that may apply. If the employee’s request for an accommodation is denied, and the employee does not comply with the vaccination requirement, the agency may pursue disciplinary action, up to and including removal from Federal service.

NewQ: Can agencies incorporate vaccination requirements into contracts that are not covered by Executive Order 14042 (Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Contractors)?

A: Yes. Agencies are strongly encouraged to incorporate vaccination requirements into contracts that are not covered by Executive Order 14042, consistent with applicable law. This might include, for example, incorporating vaccination requirements into contracts in advance of when they are otherwise required by the Executive Order or incorporating requirements into contracts that are not covered by the Executive Order, such as contracts under the Simplified Acquisition Threshold. Implementation of such additional requirements should generally follow the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force’s guidance for implementing the vaccination requirement in Executive Order 14042.

UpdatedQ: Should agencies inquire regarding the vaccination status of onsite contractor employees?

A: Prior to contractor employees being subject to a contractual requirement to be vaccinated, agencies need to ask about the vaccination status of those onsite contractor employees. Onsite contractor employees must attest to the truthfulness of the response they provide. If an onsite contractor employee chooses not to provide a response, they will be treated as not fully vaccinated for the purpose of agency safety protocols. In requesting this information, agencies should comply with any applicable federal laws, including requirements under the Privacy Act and the Paperwork Reduction Act, and any applicable collective bargaining obligations.

NewQ: Do onsite contractor employees need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test?

A: Prior to being subject to a contractual requirement to be vaccinated, onsite contractor employees who are not fully vaccinated or who decline to provide information about their vaccination status must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test from no later than the previous 3 days prior to entry to a federal building. If a contractor employee is regularly tested pursuant to an agency testing program, then they do not need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test from no later than the previous 3 days prior to entry to a federal building unless required to by the agency testing program.

UpdatedQ: How should an agency ask onsite contractor employees about their vaccination status?

A: Prior to being subject to a contractual requirement to be vaccinated, onsite contractor employees should be provided with the Certification of Vaccination form when they enter a federal building or federally controlled indoor worksite.

Unless an agency has an existing system of records notice that permits it to collect and maintain this information on its contractor employees, agencies will direct onsite contractor employees to complete the Certification of Vaccination form and keep it with them during their time on federal premises—they may be asked to show the form upon entry to a federal building or federally controlled indoor worksite and to a federal employee who oversees their work.

Prior to being subject to a contractual requirement to be vaccinated, onsite contractor employees who are not fully vaccinated (or who decline to disclose vaccination status) are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from within the previous 3 days before entry to a federal building or federally controlled indoor worksite. If a contractor employee is regularly tested pursuant to an agency testing program, then they do not need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test from no later than the previous 3 days prior to entry to a federal building unless required to by the agency testing program.

Agencies may email Certification of Vaccination form to contractor employees in advance of their time on-site or utilize a unique tool or application to share the form with contractor employees and enable them to easily complete it, but the agency will not maintain Certification of Vaccination forms from contractor employees at this time unless an agency has a system of records notice that covers its collection of this information from onsite contractor employees. Any such collection, storage, or maintenance of the attestation disclosure forms may implicate the Privacy Act and Paperwork Reduction Act.

Prior to having a contractual requirement for its employees to be vaccinated and if authorized and consistent with the terms of the contract, an agency may work with a contractor to facilitate compliance by its onsite employees with the agency’s safety protocols, such as by having the company attest that all onsite contractor employees are fully vaccinated.

Q: Should agencies inquire regarding the vaccination status of visitors to federal buildings?

A: Visitors to federal buildings should be asked to provide information about vaccination status. In requesting this information, agencies should comply with any applicable federal laws, including requirements under the Privacy Act and the Paperwork Reduction Act. Visitors who are not fully vaccinated or who decline to provide information about their vaccination status must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test from no later than the previous 3 days prior to entry to a federal building.

These requirements related to the provision of information about vaccination and provision of proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test do not apply to members of the public entering a federal building or federal land to obtain a public service or benefit. If they are not fully vaccinated, these visitors must comply with all relevant CDC guidance, including wearing a mask and physically distancing from other people.

UpdatedQ: How should an agency ask visitors about their vaccination status?

A: Agencies should provide visitors with the Certification of Vaccination form when they enter a federal building or federally controlled indoor worksite. Agencies will direct visitors to complete the Certification of Vaccination form and keep it with them during their time on federal premises—visitors may be asked to show the form upon entry to a federal building or federally controlled indoor worksite. If they are not fully vaccinated or decline to answer, they will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test result from within the previous three days.

Agencies may email the Certification of Vaccination form to visitors in advance of arrival or utilize a tool or application to share the form with visitors and enable visitors to easily complete it, but the agency will not maintain Certification of Vaccination forms from visitors.

Individuals entering a federal building, federally controlled indoor worksite, or federal land to obtain a public service or benefit do not need to complete the form or show documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result. However, if they are not fully vaccinated, they must comply with all relevant CDC guidance and safety protocols, including mask-wearing and physical distancing requirements.

UpdatedQ: What type of negative COVID-19 test result must a visitor or onsite contractor employee who is not fully vaccinated show documentation of in order to enter a federal building?

A: Agencies may determine what types of tests a visitor or onsite contractor employee who is not subject to a contractual requirement to be vaccinated can show documentation of in order to enter a federal building, provided that the tests are authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to detect current infection and produce a dated result.

UpdatedQ: If an agency has a system of records notice that covers its collection of information on vaccination status from onsite contractor employees, can the agency collect that information?

A: Yes, if an agency has a system of records notice that covers its collection of the requisite information—as reflected in the Certification of Vaccination form—from onsite contractor employees consistent with the Privacy Act, it may do so. The agency should ensure such a collection is also consistent with the Paperwork Reduction Act. The agency should provide a means for individuals to update their vaccination status over time.

NewQ: Should agencies discuss vaccination plans with their employee unions?

A: Yes. Because agencies need to act quickly due to the COVID-19 emergency and to protect the health and safety of federal employees, contractor employees, and visitors, agencies should engage with employee unions at their earliest opportunity regarding the requirement for agency employees to be vaccinated. The Government-wide policy covers specific implementation steps that agencies need to take, as well as a deadline for implementation. Additional guidance on the policy will be forthcoming that will address further implementation issues. Accordingly, bargaining over this Government-wide policy will be limited to impact and implementation issues not otherwise addressed in the guidance. Moreover, agencies must implement Government-wide policy by the deadline, so any bargaining that has not been completed by the time implementation must begin will have to be finished post-implementation.

Q: Who is considered fully vaccinated?

A: People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen). There is currently no post-vaccination time limit on fully vaccinated status.

This guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently either approved or authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson [J&J]/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines). This guidance can also be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford). More information is available at Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC.

NewQ: Can an employee who participates in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine be considered fully vaccinated?

A: Clinical trial participants from a U.S. site who are documented to have received the full series of an “active” (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine candidate, for which vaccine efficacy has been independently confirmed (e.g., by a data and safety monitoring board), can be considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after they have completed the vaccine series. Currently, the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine meets these criteria. More information is available here.

UpdatedQ: Are agencies required to establish different safety protocols for fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated individuals?

A: Yes. Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to physically distance or have restrictions on their official travel (although they still must comply with any local requirements and relevant CDC guidance for fully vaccinated individuals while traveling). Fully vaccinated individuals in areas of substantial or high transmission (see the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker County View) need to wear a mask in public indoor settings. Fully vaccinated individuals in areas of low or moderate transmission do not need to wear a mask, unless required by state or local regulations or laws.

Fully vaccinated individuals might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission for a variety of reasons.

Some employees will not be vaccinated because they are legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation. Some onsite contractor employees may not yet be subject to a contractual requirement to be vaccinated. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated or who decline to provide information about their vaccination status must wear masks regardless of community transmission level, physically distance, and comply with travel requirements for not fully vaccinated individuals

Prior to being subject to a contractual requirement to be vaccinated, onsite contractor employees who are not fully vaccinated or who decline to provide information about their vaccination status must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test from no later than the previous 3 days prior to entry to a federal building. If a contractor employee is regularly tested pursuant to an agency testing program, then they do not need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test from no later than the previous 3 days prior to entry to a federal building unless required to by the agency testing program.

Visitors will be asked to provide information about their vaccination status. Individuals who decline to provide information on their vaccination status will be treated as not fully vaccinated for purposes of agency COVID-19 workplace safety plans and protocols. Visitors who are not fully vaccinated must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test that occurred within the previous 3 days prior to entry to a federal building.

Individuals entering a federal building or federal land to obtain a public service or benefit do not need to provide information about their vaccination status or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. If they are not fully vaccinated, they must comply with all relevant CDC guidance, including wearing a mask.

NewQ: Prior to an employee being fully vaccinated, what protocols should that individual follow?

A: Federal employees who are not fully vaccinated must comply with all agency requirements for individuals who are not fully vaccinated, including those requirements related to masking, physical distancing, and travel, subject to any legally required reasonable accommodation. In determining safety protocols for employees ahead of the deadline for employee vaccination, agencies can use information from vaccination attestations submitted by employees, or other information that the agency has on the vaccination status of employees (for example, information available to the agency because the agency administered the vaccine to an employee or the agency conducted a survey of its employees regarding vaccination status) consistent with the requirements of the Privacy Act.

Where the agency already has the requisite information regarding vaccination status, it can utilize that information for purposes of determining the proper safety protocols to apply to that individual. When an employee discloses that they are not fully vaccinated, or if an agency does not know the vaccination status of an employee, agencies should follow the protocols for an individual who is not fully vaccinated for purposes of implementing safety measures.

UpdatedQ: If a federal employee seeks to enter space under the control of another agency, must they complete a Certification of Vaccination form at that agency?

A: Yes, federal employees are treated as visitors during their visit to another agency, meaning they would need to complete a Certification of Vaccination form and, if they are not fully vaccinated, they would need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within the past 3 days. As with other visitors, the employee should keep the form with them during their time onsite at the other agency.