US unveils guidance for federal vaccine mandates, exemptions

The federal government is outlining procedures for employees to request a medical or religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccinations

The Office of Management and Budget issued new guidance on Monday afternoon for fully immunizations for workers ahead of the November 22 deadline, outlining specific medical conditions that would warrant exemptions. Under the guidelines, agencies are to instruct workers to decline a waiver request, or to get their first shot within two weeks after a medical condition is resolved. They also make clear that federal agencies may deny medical or religious exemptions if they determine that no other safety protocol is sufficient.

While the CDC recommends that women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant be vaccinated against COVID-19, the federal government delays vaccination while pregnant based on the worker’s particular medical circumstances. requests will be considered.

Senior administration officials provided a preview of the new guidance to the Associated Press on Monday before it was posted by OMB.

Federal employees seeking exemptions will engage with their agencies in what they call an “interactive process,” asking to provide documents to support exemptions and potential accommodations. In the event that a waiver request is denied, workers will have two weeks to get their first shot, or be subject to disciplinary proceedings as ordered by Biden.

Unvaccinated workers are required to wear masks and maintain social distancing and their ability to travel for work will be curtailed. For those who have been exempted, new testing guidance is expected to emerge in the coming weeks.

In some cases, agencies may even deny valid waiver requests if they determine that “no safety protocol other than vaccination is adequate” given the nature of the employee’s job.

Under CDC guidelines, people are considered fully vaccinated only two weeks after a second dose of the two-shot mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot — meaning most federal workers have 8 Until November is the latest, to comply with Biden’s order rolls up its sleeve.

According to new federal guidance, neither previous COVID-19 infection nor antibody testing can be substituted for vaccination.

Meanwhile, private companies with more than 100 employees will be subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s upcoming rule requiring all employees to be vaccinated or tested weekly. Biden announced the regulation weeks ago, but the agency is still working out the details.


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