Federal workers who lie about vaccination status could be fined, removed
Federal employees who lie on a form attesting to their coronavirus vaccination status could be fined, removed from their position or even prosecuted, according to a copy of the form published Friday.
President Biden announced last week that his administration would require federal employees and onsite contractors to attest that they are vaccinated or, if they are unvaccinated or decline to do so, submit to regular testing. Visitors to agencies also need to fill out the form released Friday.
The form asks respondents to check a box saying they are fully vaccinated, not yet fully vaccinated, have not been vaccinated or decline to respond.
“I understand that a knowing and willful false statement on this form can be punished by fine or imprisonment or both (18 U.S.C. 1001),” the form states. “Checking ‘I decline to respond’ does not constitute a false statement. I understand that making a false statement on this form could result in additional administrative action including an adverse personnel action up to and including removal from my position.”
The form was first reported by The Associated Press.
Visitors or onsite contractors not enrolled in an agency’s testing program are required to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test within the previous three days, the form states.
“If you fail to submit this signed attestation or any required negative COVID-19 test, you may be denied entry to a Federal facility,” the document states.
In addition to submitting to testing, those who are not vaccinated or do not fill out the form will also have their travel restricted and are required to wear face masks no matter the level of transmission of COVID-19 in the area of their workplace. Currently, all federal employees in Washington, D.C., and other areas of high transmission are required to wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status, in accordance with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
Agencies are expected to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing for employees with existing funds. The White House has not provided an estimate of the number of federal employees or contractors it believes are not currently vaccinated against the virus.
Biden announced the new policy last week, after the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it would mandate vaccines for its medical staff.
A number of private sector companies, hospital systems, universities and state and local governments have also taken steps to mandate vaccines.