Over 95 Percent of Federal Workers Complying with Biden's COVID Vaccine Mandate

Over 95 percent of federal workers are in compliance with President Joe Biden's sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers, either by receiving the shots or requesting exemptions to the requirement, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Monday was set as the deadline for more than 3.5 million federal workers to get at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine without an option for frequent testing, the Associated Press reported.

More than 90 percent of federal workers have received at least one vaccine dose ahead of the deadline, and the official said that the vast majority of the employees under the mandate are fully vaccinated. A smaller number of the workers have pending or authorized medical or religious exemptions.

The high numbers of federal workers who are vaccinated sets the group ahead of the general U.S. population, 71 percent of which is fully vaccinated, NPR reported. Any employees who don't comply with the mandate will have to undergo a "counseling" process that could lead to them being fired if they don't eventually get inoculated or obtain an exemption, according to AP.

Biden's mandate is part of a larger push from his administration to get more Americans vaccinated as the world starts to near two year in the COVID-19 pandemic. This requirement, as well as Biden's separate mandate for larger businesses to impose vaccination or testing requirements, will serve as a test for whether the president's campaign to get more people immunized will work.

The business vaccine mandate covers more than 84 million workers, though legal challenges against the measure have temporarily placed enforcement of the January deadline on hold, AP reported.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Biden Vaccine Mandate
More than 90 percent of federal workers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday’s deadline set by President Joe Biden. Biden announced in September that all federal workers were required to undergo vaccination, with no test-out option, unless they secured an approved medical or religious exemption. Above, Biden speaks during a ceremony to pardon the national Thanksgiving turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, D.C., on November 19, 2021. Alex Brandon/AP Photo

There was considerable concern over whether federal employees would follow the mandate, particularly in law enforcement and intelligence agencies where there was vocal resistance, and among federal workers involved in the travel sector heading into the busy holiday travel season

The White House says they don't anticipate any federal disruptions from the mandate. At the Federal Aviation Administration, 99 percent of employees are in compliance with Biden's order, at the Transportation Security Administration, 93 percent are in compliance, and 98 percent of Customs and Border Protection workers are in compliance.

The official said that on Wednesday the Office of Management and Budget would release a breakdown of agency compliance rates.

According to the official, nearly 25 percent of the Internal Revenue Service's employees started getting vaccinated after Biden's announcement, and 98 percent of its employees are now in compliance with the requirement.

Just about two weeks ago, several intelligence agencies had at least 20 percent of their workforce unvaccinated as of late October, said Representative Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association President Larry Cosme said around the same time that there are about 31,000 members from 65 federal law enforcement agencies in the association and he estimated 60 percent of them have been vaccinated.

The White House is now aiming to use the federal vaccination mandate as a model for private businesses to implement their own mandates even before litigation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's is resolved.

Since Biden announced the first federal mandates earlier this summer, the number of unvaccinated Americans aged 12 and over has dropped from about 100 million to under 60 million. Health officials emphasize that the overwhelming majority of instances of serious illness and death from COVID-19 now occur among those who haven't received a vaccine.

COVID Vaccine Mandates
Over 95 percent of federal workers are in compliance with President Joe Biden’s sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers, either by receiving the shots or requesting exemptions to the requirement, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Above, Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center nurse Maggie Bass (right) injects a COVID-19 vaccine into an arm in Jackson, Mississippi, on September 21, 2021. Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo