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White House: 92% of fed workers under mandate are vaccinated

President Joe Biden speaks about Afghanistan collapse, Photo Date: 8/16/2021 | Credit: PBS NewsHour / YouTube

The Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for millions of federal workers seems to be working, with no apparent disruption to law enforcement, intelligence-gathering or holiday travel.

Posted: Nov 24, 2021 4:24 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration's vaccine mandate for millions of federal workers seems to be working, with no apparent disruption to law enforcement, intelligence-gathering or holiday travel.

On Tuesday, one day after the deadline for compliance, 92% of the 3.5 million federal workers covered by Biden’s mandate reported to the government that they are at least partially vaccinated, according to White House officials.

The highest number of partial vaccinations by Tuesday was at the Agency for International Development, which had 97.8%, followed closely by the Department of Health and Human Services at 96.4% and State Department at 96.1%, according to data provided by the White House Wednesday.

Law enforcement agencies do lag behind in vaccines, with the Justice Department at 89.8%. The Department of Veterans Affairs is at 87.8% of partial vaccinations, though the Defense Department was 93.4% and the Homeland Security Department was 88.9%. The government office with the lowest number of partially vaccinated employees was the Agriculture Department, at 86.1%.

But overall, 96.5% of federal employees have been deemed in compliance with the policy, which also includes medical or religious exemptions that are still being evaluated. The rest are considered out of compliance, but officials emphasized that “it’s not a cliff,” and that workers will receive counseling to get vaccinated or file for an exemption. Only then would termination be considered.

“We know vaccine requirements work,” said White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz. “We hope that our implementation sends the clear message to businesses to move forward with similar measures that will protect their workforce, protect their customers, and protect our communities.”

White House officials said the data was just a snapshot and the numbers would continue to rise in the days and weeks ahead. As they work through additional vaccines and exceptions, there will be no disruptions to government services, the officials said.

Since instituting the initial vaccine-or-test mandate this summer and then the more-restrictive requirement without a test-out option this fall, the White House has believed the federal government could serve as a model for the rest of the nation’s employers for how vaccinations could help shepherd a quicker return to the normal.

White House officials say the most important lesson for businesses from the federal experience is that once they take the first step toward requirements, their workers will follow.

The numbers from the Internal Revenue Service show how a mandate can drive up the vaccination rate. About 25% of the agency’s workforce first got a shot after Biden announced the mandate in September; now, 98% are in compliance.

Agencies with marginally lower vaccination rates tend to have widely dispersed workforces, making education and counseling about the benefits of vaccines — or even just the task of getting workers to self-report that they’ve already gotten a shot – more difficult.

There is still some resistance. The union representing federal prison workers filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block the mandate, arguing it’s an unfair labor practice and violates employees’ free speech and privacy rights. Shane Fausey, the president of the Council of Prison Locals, said in a letter to members that more than 3,500 federal Bureau of Prisons employees — about 10% of the agency’s workforce — were being issued counseling letters and face possible termination for not complying with the mandate.

Fausey’s letter repeated misinformation about the vaccine, including claims that it doesn’t stop the spread of COVID-19 and that it does not reduce the “overall adverse medical effects of the virus.” Lawyers Bruce Castor and Michael van der Veen, who represented former President Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial, are representing the union.

As of late October, several intelligence agencies apparently had at least 20% of their workforce unvaccinated, said Republican Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Some of the initial fears about the vaccination status of the federal workforce stemmed from employees without access to government computers to make their vaccination certification. Some, like front-line Transportation Security Administration officers, rarely use a government computer. Others are in the field or simply delayed responding to the survey or beginning vaccination.

The federal vaccination rate outpaces the rate of vaccination for all Americans. About 82.2% of American adults, or more than 212 million people, have received at least one dose. Of them about 71%, or over 183 million, are fully vaccinated.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848498

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164292005
Mobile743961384
Madison53544738
Shelby38446371
Baldwin38207589
Tuscaloosa36168644
Montgomery34570782
Lee25677264
Calhoun22632520
Morgan22540411
Etowah20074520
Marshall18859318
Houston17790426
St. Clair16963359
Limestone16200220
Cullman16164306
Elmore15948295
Lauderdale15080307
Talladega14265302
DeKalb13093271
Walker12170380
Blount10782193
Autauga10561157
Jackson10217196
Coffee9439192
Colbert9374210
Dale9045192
Tallapoosa7286202
Russell710865
Chilton7097170
Covington6972197
Escambia6968144
Franklin6366108
Chambers5804142
Marion5445132
Dallas5303210
Pike5132109
Clarke486086
Lawrence4852130
Winston4799110
Geneva4655136
Bibb436295
Barbour370880
Butler3445101
Marengo342993
Monroe338566
Randolph337967
Pickens335090
Fayette332185
Henry321266
Cherokee320564
Hale319489
Crenshaw261778
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay253069
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
Wilcox178538
Lowndes178468
Bullock152845
Perry141840
Sumter139841
Greene130745
Choctaw94628
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