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Vaccine mandate for federal workers goes into effect Monday

While the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private workplaces is on hold, federal workers still need to show proof by Monday that they have been fully vaccinated.

WASHINGTON — Monday marks a key deadline for part of President Joe Biden's federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Back in September, Biden signed Executive Order 14043, requiring 3.5 million federal employees to show they are fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, in order to be considered compliant. According to one U.S. official, "more than 90% of federal workers" have had at least one shot by today's deadline.

But that means that many vaccination deadlines have already passed. In order to be considered fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals must be two weeks removed from either their second dose of the mRNA Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, or the one and only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Those impacted by this mandate would have had to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by Oct. 18 or the first dose of the Moderna vaccine by Oct. 11, in order to receive the second dose of each shot by Nov. 8. Anyone receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would have had to receive the shot on Nov. 8. 

There are limited exceptions to the mandate, including certain medical conditions and religious beliefs.

In all, more than 95% of federal workers are in compliance with the Biden mandate, the official said, either by being vaccinated or having requested an exemption. Workers who are not in compliance are set to begin a “counseling” process that could ultimately result in their termination if they don't get a shot or secure an approved exception to vaccination.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the statistics because the official wasn't authorized to speak on the record before their official release later Monday.

Those affected by Monday's deadline include Transportation Security Administration agents. Despite the deadline falling on the busy Thanksgiving travel week, the TSA told CBS New York that it has been preparing for this for months and doesn't expect the mandate will impact the agency's operations. 

Last week, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it was suspending "implementation" and "enforcement" of the Biden administration's vaccine and testing mandates at private workplaces with more than 100 workers. After a number of legal challenges, that plan was suspended, and remains in limbo pending further legal action.

There are still many other vaccination deadlines forthcoming. While the Air Force required active members to be vaccinated by Nov. 2, most of the rest of the military faces vaccination deadlines before the end of the year: 

Federal contractors and healthcare workers at Medicare or Medicaid participating facilities also face a vaccination deadline of Jan. 4, 2022. Members of Congress and the judicial branch, as well as some state employees are not affected by the president's vaccine orders. 

In order to comply with the Jan. 4 deadline, employees will need to receive their first dose of the Moderna shot by Nov. 23, and the Pfizer shot by Nov. 30. They'd then either need their second dose of the Moderna/Pfizer shot or the only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Dec. 21.