OPM says vaccine mandate for federal workers can be enforced next month

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said in a memo issued Friday that President BidenJoe BidenBiden to provide update Monday on US response to omicron variant Restless progressives eye 2024 Emhoff lights first candle in National Menorah-lighting ceremony MORE's vaccine mandate for federal employees can be enforced beginning on Nov. 9 for employees who have not yet been inoculated.

In the memo from Director Kiran Ahuja, OPM advised against waiting to the last minute to get vaccinated as "other events often interfere with even well-laid plans."

"Employees who refuse to be vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination are subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including removal or termination from Federal service," Ahuja stated. "The only exception is for individuals who receive a legally required exception pursuant to established agency processes."

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Federal agencies were advised to require their employees to get fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, with their second dose of a vaccine to be received "no later than November 8." The Nov. 8 deadline also applies to getting a dose of Johnson & Johnson's one-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

"Given this timeline, agencies may initiate the enforcement process as soon as November 9, 2021, for employees who have not completed their vaccination dose(s) by November 8," Ahuja added.

Last month, Biden issued an executive order requiring that federal employees get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"The health and safety of the Federal workforce, and the health and safety of members of the public with whom they interact, are foundational to the efficiency of the civil service," Biden wrote in his order. "I have determined that ensuring the health and safety of the Federal workforce and the efficiency of the civil service requires immediate action to protect the Federal workforce and individuals interacting with the Federal workforce."