Deadline for all US federal employees to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations

Today is the deadline for US federal government contractors to vaccinate their employees against COVID-19. The Biden administration has signaled

US vaccine deadline

Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Today is the deadline for US federal government contractors to vaccinate their employees against COVID-19.

The Biden administration has signaled some flexibility around this deadline and effectively extended it to January 18 following complaints from several contractors that they could not complete their vaccinations in time. This flexibility, however, has not stopped multiple US states, including Texas and Florida, from filing several lawsuits against the federal government attempting to halt the mandate.

The plaintiffs argue that the mandate violates federal procurement law, and that the firing of contractor employees who refuse vaccination could significantly worsen labor shortages and supply chain issues currently plaguing the US. Mandate proponents, however, consider them necessary for public health. However, the central issue around vaccine mandates remains the same: whether they are constitutional.

US courts have largely held that vaccine mandates are, allowing commercial, educational and government institutions to require vaccinations. These lawsuits are unlikely to end substantially differently. However, the extreme lack of clarity around the mandate’s flexibility may lead courts to order further delays or require the administration to clarify its policy. For now, though, expect federal contractors to continue attempting to comply with the policy and vaccinate their employees by January 18.

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