The Air Force has instructed civilian workers they face a Nov. 22 deadline to be vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, turning into the primary service to challenge a deadline for its civilians and matching a White House schedule for federal staff because the Pentagon works on a plan for imposing the mandate.
The deadline discover was despatched out earlier this month by Air Force Under Secretary Gina Ortiz Jones in an inside memo obtained by Military.com. It was one of many first steps by the companies towards hitting the date set by the Biden administration for all federal employees to be inoculated. Other branches of the navy have but to announce whether or not they intend to observe the White House's deadline, with the potential that they might choose an earlier date.
But imposing the mandate for the entire Defense Department's 700,000 or so civilians -- the most important contingent within the federal authorities -- looms as a problem, as many are nonetheless working from residence and a few might resist the shot. And the Pentagon has but to finalize the principles and what might occur to those that refuse. The Department of the Air Force, which incorporates the Space Force, has about 200,000 civilian staff, in keeping with Rand Corp.
The Jones memo reiterated the vaccination deadline spelled out by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, which is led by the White House's pandemic response group, in keeping with Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman.
After lagging vaccination charges this summer time, President Joe Biden introduced all federal staff could be required to get the COVID shot, and the White House has since issued steering saying all businesses, together with the Defense Department, should transfer "as quickly as possible" to verify all staff are inoculated.
Read Next: How a Public Affairs Snafu Led to News Reports of a Fake Shooter at Fort Meade
Monitoring and testing of civilians have been anticipated to start this fall, in addition to an effort to observe contractors, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks mentioned earlier this month. The Pentagon is anticipated to announce the plan quickly, in keeping with prime spokesman John Kirby.
"Following publication of the president's EOs [executive orders] requiring civilian employee vaccination, DoD is in the process of updating its policies to implement these requirements," Maj. Cesar Santiago-Santini, a Pentagon spokesman, wrote in an e-mail Friday.
For now, how the division will monitor lots of of 1000's of staff and who can pay for testing stay open questions.
"Agencies are no longer required to establish a screening testing program for employees or onsite contractor employees who are not fully vaccinated, although they may do so," in keeping with a September replace from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.
Defense contractors additionally can be required to take the shot. Any federal contractor working onsite and unvaccinated earlier than the deadline should present proof of a unfavorable COVID-19 check taken inside the previous three days earlier than coming into a federal constructing, in keeping with the duty pressure.
So far, the Department of the Air Force seems to be the primary department of the navy to broadly push the deadline whereas ready for a unified plan from Pentagon management. The Army and Navy reported no related notifications when reached for remark.
"COVID-19 vaccines are readily available to Department of the Army civilian employees, and we encourage all to comply with the President's directive," Lt. Col. Terence Kelley, an Army spokesman, wrote in an e-mail. "As we receive implementation guidance from the Department of Defense, we will issue further guidelines to our civilian employees."
All companies have now set obligatory deadlines for service members to be vaccinated following an order in August from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and have warned of potential punishment and even separation if troops refuse and not using a respectable exemption.
-- Travis Tritten might be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Travis_Tritten.
Related: Mandatory COVID Testing for Unvaccinated DoD Civilian Workers to Start This Fall
Show Full Article
© Copyright 2021 Military.com. All rights reserved. This materials might not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.