NAICU Washington Update

White House Provides Additional Details About Federal Vaccine Mandates

October 08, 2021

The White House made two new resources regarding federal vaccine mandates available to the public this week. These documents provide additional information about the mandates but are otherwise consistent with President Biden’s COVID-19 action plan. More details about federal vaccine mandates are expected to follow in the coming weeks. 

The first new resource released is a Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council memorandum that implements the president’s Executive Order (EO) regarding federal contractors. Specifically, the memorandum sets forth the text of the clause that federal agencies must insert in new federal contracts covered by the EO regarding compliance with safety protocols issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. 

It is important to note that federal agencies are being urged to incorporate the new clause not only into existing covered contracts but also into other agency contracts and contract-like instruments that are not subject to the EO. The Department of Education and other federal agencies are expected to issue additional guidance regarding federal contracting in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the American Council on Education has published an issue brief that discusses the impact of the federal contracting requirements on colleges and universities in more detail.

The second new resource is a report promoting the benefits of vaccine mandates. Citing the role of vaccine mandates in saving lives and improving the economy, the report encourages colleges and universities to adopt such mandates. 

Announced last month, President Biden’s COVID-19 action plan contains three sections that will affect colleges and universities. In addition to the federal contracting requirements that have already been published, two other components of the plan – a vaccine or testing mandate for large employers and paid time off for workers to get vaccinated – will not be implemented until the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration issues new rules to implement such requirements.  Such rules may become available as early as this month.

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