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Administration expects 95% compliance with federal worker vaccine mandate

Biden required workers to receive at least one shot as of Monday, and the vast majority are already fully vaccinated.
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WASHINGTON — At least 95 percent of federal workers will meet Monday's deadline to have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine or to request an exemption, according to a senior administration official.

Among the 3.5 million federal employees, 90 percent have had at least one shot as of Monday with the vast majority being fully vaccinated, the official said. The administration expects the number to increase in the coming days as more employees submit documentation and the agencies continue to compile data, the official said.

For those who haven’t met the requirement or requested a medical or religious exemption, the federal government will continue an “education and counseling process, followed by additional enforcement steps over time if needed,” the official said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration doesn’t expect there to be any disruption to services as a result of employees not meeting the requirement.

“We do not anticipate facing any governmental operational disruptions due to this requirement and in fact, the requirement will avoid disruptions, in our view, in our labor force because vaccinations help avoid Covid,” Psaki said Friday.

Biden had initially given federal workers the choice of undergoing regular testing instead of getting vaccinated, but in September said that testing opt-out would no longer be an option. Federal contractors must also meet a separate vaccination requirement.

Biden established a series of vaccination requirements in an effort to pressure the unvaccinated, including a requirement that all companies with at least 100 workers require that their employees get vaccinated or regularly tested. That requirement though has been blocked temporarily in the courts.

Nationwide, about 1 in 5 adults remain unvaccinated, according to the CDC.