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White House Gives Contractors Some Leeway on Shot Mandate (1)

Nov. 29, 2021, 10:14 PMUpdated: Dec. 1, 2021, 3:36 PM

Federal contractors won’t lose the U.S. government’s business if their workers are moving toward full vaccination, even if they have only received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by the Biden administration’s earlier Jan. 4 final-shot deadline, a White House coronavirus official told Bloomberg Government.

Agencies won’t cut ties with contractors that are making a “good-faith effort” to push their employees toward full vaccination, the official said, adding that contractors shouldn’t immediately fire workers who have only received one shot by Jan. 4, 2022. Employees are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they’ve received their final dose of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or a second dose of the two-shot Pfizer Inc. or Moderna Inc. vaccines, the Biden administration said.

The White House previously set Jan. 4 as the final-shot deadline for federal contractors, allowing them to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18. The official’s latest comments come as federal spending on contracts is increasing and President Joe Biden is trying to leverage the federal wallet to drive up vaccination rates nationwide.

Federal spending on contracts reached a record high of $686 billion in fiscal year 2020, up 14% from the previous year due to Covid-19, according to Bloomberg Government’s federal contracting data. Defense contractors Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Technologies Corp., and General Dynamics Corp. received a combined $129.5 billion of that spending.

Separately, the White House said last week that 92% of federal workers have received at least one Covid-19 shot, adding that those government workers with just one dose are in compliance with the president’s Nov. 22 vaccine mandate and won’t be dismissed immediately. The White House has not said how many federal workers are fully vaccinated.

(Clarifies the difference between the final-shot deadline and full vaccination deadlines.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Courtney Rozen in Washington at crozen@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Bernie Kohn at bkohn@bloomberglaw.com; Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergindustry.com